This year was the first year that I've made my own applesauce. Apples are abundant here in upstate New York and I was able to find a great deal on some freshly picked, local apples.
We used two (and maybe three, I can't remember) varieties of apples: Cortlands and Jonah Golds for sure. First up was washing the apples.
When I made applesauce with my mom and grandma growing up, I remember cooking the apples with peels and cores in, and then when they were soft and cooked, pushing them through a device that strained the seeds and skin off. I remember it being very sticky and hot.
After peeling and coring the apples, we chopped them into loose fourths. Not an exact science, just to help them cooked down faster.
Then we piled apples into pots with some water and started the cooking process. We stirred every once in a while (to make sure the bottoms weren't burning) and added more water as needed, cooking on medium heat.
I didn't get many pictures of all the steps because I didn't even think about documenting it until we were halfway through! So these are just the pictures of what we thought to get, and you'll have to fill in the blanks.
After the apples were cooked down, mixed and blended, we laded the sauce into clean jars, leaving an inch or a half of head space near the top. Remember you need to have the lids in boiling water before you place them on the jars, and DON'T FORGET to clean the tops of the jars with a clean wet dishcloth before putting the lids and rings on, you don't want any bacteria growth. For a more detailed step-by-step canning process check out the pear canning tutorial here.
After the jars were filled, cleaned and lids were put on tightly, we filled up our water canning pot and started processing the applesauce.
There are great canning books, and you can read tutorials all you want, but I really believe that the best way to learn how to can is by canning with someone who has done it over and over again. In this case, Mountain Man's parents were visiting and made the applesauce with me. I learned more from their canning experience than I would have just following some written instructions. So cozy up to a neighbor or family member who has canning experience and see if you can learn some tricks of the trade which are passed down from generations.
Anyone else make applesauce this fall, or are planning to?