Canning at Home: An Apple a Day

5 years ago

There's something about the month of September. It beckons sweaters and tall boots, fills the nose with the scent of freshly sharpened pencils and newly opened crayons. There's something about the flip of the calendar that affects the tastebuds too; that makes us crave comfort foods—apples, pumpkin, filling soups, and stick-to-your-ribs casseroles.

With canning, at least one of the month's most infamous dishes can be preserved and kept on the pantry shelf to be enjoyed throughout the winter. Applesauce is far more versatile than I was ever led to believe as a child. Not just a lowly side dish intended for the bland-loving taste buds of children, these days our family uses it to flavor homemade oatmeal, as a dipping sauce for strips of grilled pork, even an addition to baked goods—and not just to save calories.

With just one basic applesauce recipe (included below) you can allow your imagination to run wild. A handful of berries, pureed and stirred in; a couple of peaches or nectarines cooked down and added before jarring; your favorite balance of cinnamon and nutmeg with just the right dash of sugar. The possibilities are as endless as the uses for that which you create. All you need are apples, time, and a little creativity.

Some of our favorite additions to basic applesauce include peach, nectarine, blueberry, wild black raspberry, cherry, and a cinnamon, clove spice mixture.

Basic Applesauce

Yield: 8 pints or 4 quarts

  • 12 lbs Apples; peeled, cored, quartered, treated to prevent browning, and drained.
  • Water
  • 3 Cups Sugar 
  • 4 TBSP Lemon Juice

Prepare canner, lids, and jars.

Combine apples and just enough water to prevent sticking in a large pot. Bring to boil and continue to cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, five to twenty minutes.

Cool slightly, and process til smooth in a blender, food processor, or food mill.

Return smooth sauce to pan, add sugar and lemon juice—plus any additional fruit pastes or spices you'd like to include for specialty sauces—and reheat on medium, stirring to combine thoroughly.

Ladle sauce into hot jars, apply lids to fingertip tight, and process in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes.

At end of processing time, remove lid and allow to cool five minutes before carefully removing jars from canner.


Diana Prichard authors Righteous Bacon and is the owner of the small farm Olive Hill.

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