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Canning applesauce is one of the easiest places to start your water bath canning experience. In fact, I believe applesauce may have been the first thing I ever water bathed.
We have 11 apple trees, and each year at least one full tree is devoted to canning applesauce to be put into the pantry for the next year. Now, that may sound like we’re getting out of hand with the applesauce, but we’re really not.
We use it in our oatmeal, when cooking pork, for baby food, and for adding to other fruits to make a perfectly textured fruit leather.
Also, since we only have a 70 day growing season, if our weather is a little off, we sometimes don’t get apples that year. This has happened a few times, and we’re always glad that we’ve canned applesauce in excess on these years.
Let me tell you—once you’ve had homemade canned applesauce, and you know exactly what’s in it (and have a good idea what’s not in it), you’ll never want to go back to store bought again.
On a tight budget? Homemade canned applesauce will save you a ton of money. Since I use canning equipment and jars I’ve already got, reusable Tattler lids, and homegrown apples, I don’t put a penny into these. Could stocking your shelves be any more frugal?
Food Supplies Needed For Canning Applesauce
To make applesauce, you will need:
Cooking & Canning Items Needed
- Large pot
- Canning tools (this is the set I use)
- Water bath canner
- Long wooden spoon & ladle
- Quart Jars
- Lids & Rings
Preparing For Canning
Along with preparing your jars, lids, and rings, clean all your other equipment before starting. Also prepare your water bath canner.
I always start by washing the apples. I don’t worry about them being dried.
Once they are washed, I chop the pretty parts off of them to make dehydrated apple chips and then the rest of the apple goes in a large stock pot for applesauce.
Getting Apples Ready
I only cut bruised and wormy parts off. Everything else—core and seeds included—goes into the Stock Pot. No need to pull that stuff out right now.
On low heat I let the apples get good and hot, making sure to stir frequently so they don’t burn to the bottom of the stock pot. Honestly, I let the apples get warm for however long I feel like it. I think low and slow is better than hot and fast (and burned).
When I’m ready to move on, I’ll make sure all my equipment is clean and ready, and prepare my jars, lids, rings, and water bath canner.
When I’m all set up, I start scooping cooked apples (skins, cores, seeds, and all) into my food strainer, and hand crank all the apple through. All the sauce falls into the bowl in front, and all the junk (like the seeds and hard spots) fall to the left in a separate bowl.
If my apples are hot, this is a smooth and easy process.
Now I then take the “junk” bowl and run it through four or five more times to get all the good apple. I love the red tinge it has when I leave the skins on.
Water Bathing Applesauce
Using a large ladle and a canning funnel, I move my warm applesauce over into warm quart jars, leaving ½ inch for head space. Using the plastic spatula tool, I get the air bubbles out, and then wipe the rims clean with a new clean towel.
Next I place caps and rings on, and use the grabber to place the jars into the warm water. When the water is boiling, I start my timer and process my jars for 20 minutes plus an adjustment for altitude.
Altitude Increase Processing Time
1001-3000 ft 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10000 20 minutes
At 5980 feet, I process mine for 30 minutes.
After The Applesauce Has Been Canned
When time is up, I turn off the heat source, remove the canner lid and let everything sit for about 20 minutes before again using the grabber to lift each one out and set it on a dry towel. Making sure the jars have at least an inch around them, I leave them alone overnight.
In the morning, I’ll remove the rings and check for a seal. If not sealed properly, I can place a jar in the refrigerator and use within two days, or process again. All the jars and rings get cleaned, and are allowed to air dry all day.
That’s it. No sugar, no preservatives. I use 99% of the apple, and my kids love it.
*Disclosure: I cannot take responsibility for your skill. Just like I am the only one responsible for the foods I prepare for my family, you are the only one responsible for the foods you prepare for your family. It is very important that you follow safety standards at all times. I follow the guidelines outlined in my Ball Blue Book, and highly suggest you do too. This post is not intended to teach you how to water bath. There are other things not mentioned here that are important for you to know if you are just learning. I also highly suggest having a well-seasoned canning friend with you to help you learn the ropes, or take classes. My friend Melissa teaches classes via videos—you should look into these if you are new to canning. (She also teaches you to use a pressure canner.)*