Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sauced, Apples

Applesauce is a feel good food item for me.  I love apples (I mean who doesn't!).  Is there anything more joyful than wandering through an apple orchard on a cool fall day?  Picking and taste testing.  Taste testing and picking.

I enjoy applesauce most, warmed on the stove or in the microwave and sprinkled with a little cinnamon...or if the mood strikes me just plain.  

Since I am on a big cranberry kick I recently tried adding cranberries into the mix.  I am happy to report the results were stellar. 

The best part about canning applesauce is that it doesn't require any added sugar.  A dream come true for someone who wants to can but leads a low sugar or no sugar lifestyle. 

I consider applesauce a great snack option/after dinner treat/and addition to baked goods.  It can add a nice amount of moisture to breads, muffins, or cakes.

And lets not forget the second most exciting thing about making applesauce....you don't have to peel the apples! Glorious!


Homemade Canned Applesauce

Supplies:
Apples (softer varieties are best...I do not recommend Arkansas Black or other storage type apples)
Water - you'll need about 1/2 water for every 4-5 lbs of apples you use
Spices - this is optional but some spices to consider are Cinnamon, allspice, and pumpkin pie spice...I start with 1/8 teaspoon and continue from there...you can always add more!
Apple Corer

While you are waiting for the water to boil in your canning pot start coring and slicing the apples.  Don't get concerned if they brown a little...not a big deal.  There is no need to peel the apples unless you want to.  I never do.

Once water is boiling lower jars into the pot.  After a few minutes lower heat.  Place jar lids in a small saucepan with water at a simmer until ready to use.  

In a sauce pan add sliced apples and water.  Cook for about ten minutes until apples soften.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and either use a potato masher or a food processor to create the sauce.  If you're using a food processor....I always allow the apple to cool off for a few minutes before throwing them in to process but that's just me. 

Once apples are to your desired consistency funnel into the hot jars.  Leave 1/2 inch head space between sauce and top of jar.  "Bubble" the jars by placing a chopstick or knife down the sides so air is allowed to escape.  Wipe jar rims clean with a wet paper towel, apply lids and rims.  Lower jars into the canning pot and process for 20 minutes for pint or quart jars (water in canner should always be at least 1 inch over jars...if not add more water!).  Start your timer from the time the water returns to a full boil. 

After 20 minutes remove the jars and place on a dish towel on the counter to cool.  Don't disturb them for at least 8 hours....over night is best.  Remove rings and check lid seals to make sure they are secure.  If a lid does not stay on a jar...no worries! Just place the jar in the fridge and enjoy ASAP.  The sealed jars will be shelf stable for 1 year.  As your last step ladle the jars with a date and what it is...and of coarse admire your creation! Store in a cool, dark place.   

The Cranberry Apple Sauce recipe I used comes from sbcanning.com

3 qt. apples, sliced with peel (12 cups)
1 lb. fresh cranberries (2 cups)
2 c. water
Sugar to taste
 "Preparation: Prepare 6 pints or 3 quarts (you can adjust for more jars if you add a lot of sugar), lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till it’s time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

Cooking: In a large stainless steel or enameled dutch combine apples and water.
Cook with cover until almost tender. Add cranberries and continue cooking until cranberries burst. Run cranberry apple mixture thorough food processor or food mill. Add sugar (if desired) and heat till boil. Add sugar (optional) to taste based on sweetness of fruit. Start with 1/8 cup sugar, stir into mixture, then taste. Add additional till the flavor desired."


 

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