Homemade Applesauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I figured this recipe for an amount of apples that will produce a fairly reliable amount of sauce - about 8 pints or 4 quarts, just in case you want to can the sauce. The method works for any amount and will keep a week or so in the refrigerator or it can be frozen if you want to keep it longer, but don't want to can it. Applesauce is a pretty good "gateway" to canning though.
Recipe type: Food Preservation; Sauces
  • 12 to 14 pounds of apples
  • ¼ cup water or apple juice
  • sweetener [optional]
  • ground cinnamon, ginger, fresh nutmeg, ground cloves or allspice - whatever you like
  1. You need a large heavy stock pot type pan for cooking the apples - this amount of apples should fit in an 8 quart pot. If they don't all fit, cook them down a bit and then you can add more - the pan will be less full as the apples break down.
  2. Wash the apples well, and remove the stems.
  3. Cut each apple into quarters or eights - nice big chunks. if you are in a big hurry, smaller chunks will cook down more quickly, but it takes more time to cut them up, so you end up about the same.
  4. Put the cut apples - peels, cores and all into the big pot, along with the water or juice, cover the pot, and turn the heat on medium low.
  5. You will start to hear a little action in the bottom pot fairly soon. It's important to stay close and keep the apples stirred up so they don't stick as they are getting going. Once they cook a bit, they will begin to release some juice which will keep them from sticking so easily, but at first, you have to tend them more closely.
  6. Once the apples are getting juicy, you can remove the lid so that the sauce ends up thicker - this allows the excess moisture to evaporate.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring frequently,until the apples are completely broken down into something that is going to look very much like finished apple sauce, though with skins and stuff in it still. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 or 45 minutes. It depends on what kind of apples you used and how fresh and firm they were. The fresher and harder the apples, the longer it will take.
  8. This is important - if you should let stirring slip your mind and the apples burn - do NOT stir them! This will just impart the burned taste to all the apples. If you haven't burned the heck out of them, you may be able to salvage them, by emptying the unburned apples into another container and scrubbing out the burned stuff before returning the apples to the pot to continue cooking - assuming they still need more cooking time. You can tell if they will be okay by smelling or tasting them after separating the unburned ones - if they are okay they will smell and taste good.
  9. Once they are cooked down enough, I like to let them cool a few minutes, because getting hot apples on you is kind of like napalm, and this gets a little splashy if you aren't careful.
  10. Set the food mill over a bowl, and run the apple mush through it a few cups at a time. Turn the crank backwards every 10 cranks or so to clear the screen, and also scrape down the sides if needed.
  11. Add more apples to the food mill as needed, and keep cranking.
  12. Every so often, you need to empty the seeds and skins from the food mill. Lift the food mill away from the bowl and carefully scrape the applesauce on the bottom into your bowl. Then empty the mill into a compost pail or what have you.
  13. Continue processing until all of the apples are run through the mill.
  14. Now, you have applesauce! Taste it to see if you think it needs to be sweeter - you can sweeten it with sugar, maple syrup, honey etc., but do it very gradually to make sure you don't get it too sweet.
  15. You can add what ever spices you like now as well, again adding small amounts and tasting to get it where you want it.
  16. I usually don't don't sweeten mine, because we like it kind of tart, and if you are going to use for baking, it's probably best not to sweeten it. I usually wait until I'm using it to add spices too, because what I put in will depend on how I'm using it. If you know you are just going to eat it and you want it taste a certain way, then go ahead and sweeten and spice it to your taste.
  17. You can keep in the refrigerator for about a week, or freeze it in containers or ziplock bags.
  18. It can be canned as well. I talk about canning here and here, so I won't reiterate all of that.
  19. If canning, be sure to add either 1 teaspoon bottled lemon juice, or ½ teaspoon citric acid to each jar [just put it in the bottom - it will mix in]. Leave ½ inch headspace, and water bath process for 20 minutes for both quarts and pints.
Recipe by The Creekside Cook at http://thecreeksidecook.com/homemade-applesauce/