This recipe has no quantities, because it is entirely dependent on how many apples you have. But as a rough guide, 8 good-sized apples made two large jars of applesauce - see left!
There are also no ingredients, apart from apples! Though some recipes do suggest adding cinnamon, or even some sugar if the apples are tart.
The Americans are far more used to canning applesauce than we Brits are, and so they have a whole lot of specialised equipment, such as jar grabbers, water bath pots (with built in rack for raising and lowering the jars, etc. If you have such equipment, then I presume you know how to use it. I would also advise investing in such equipment and following the instructions closely if you have a vast quantity of apples to process. Nothing could be worse than all the jars spoiling for the want of precise attention.
However, if like me you only have a few apples to deal with and want to have a go, then this is my improvised version. The final product looks good, and I am hoping the jars last okay. I shall keep at least one jar until Christmas, and will report back if it has survived or not. Caveat emptor!
Equipment you will need:
- approximately one large jar per 4 apples. Kilner jars are best, though any with a tight-fitting lid should work.
- a deep and heavy-bottomed pot, such as a stock pot, with a well-fitting lid.- something to improvise a rack at the bottom of the pot - I used an upturned plate, though be careful that it is one that can withstand a lot of heat (my Ikea one cracked!). A metal grill of some kind would work better - anything to keep the jars from sitting on the base of the pot.
- something to remove the jars safely from the boiling water. Americans have special jar grabbers: I poured off some of the water, and then used a silicone oven glove.
- apple corer or sharp knife; wooden spoon; large serving spoon or ladle.
Please be carefull! As with jam, you are dealing with very high temperatures, and the absence of specialised equipment increases the likelihood of spills and burns.
1) Before beginning, you need to sterilise your jars. Put the jars on their sides on a rack in the oven. Turn the oven to 140C, and when it reaches this temperature, turn it off. Leave the jars in the oven until ready to use. For the lids, boil them for 5 minutes. Or if you have a dishwasher, run jars and lids through a cycle.
2) Wash and core your apples, and remove any bruised or nibbled bits. You can peel them if you want, but I didn't bother. But do make sure all the nasty bits around the seeds are removed. While you are doing this, you can place the cut apples in a large bowl of water to stop them discolouring too quickly. You could add a touch of lemon juice to the water.
3) Fill the large pot with about an inch of water, and add the apples. Put the lid on tightly. Bring rapidly to the boil, and then reduce the heat. Simmer for around 20 minutes, until the apples are disintegrated and fluffy.
4) If you did not peel the apples, pick out the skins at this stage. If there are any lumps left, mash them with a potato masher, or with a wooden spoon. If the sauce seems too watery, you can boil some of the liquid off, stirring all the time and being careful that it does not stick to the bottom or burn. Keep the applesauce hot.
5) Spoon the hot applesauce into the jars, wipe off any spills around the rim, and seal tightly with the lids.
6) Wash your large and deep pot. Place the rack in the bottom, and sit the sealed jars on the rack. Cover the jars with hot water so that they are about an inch below the surface. Bring to the boil, and boil the jars for 20-30 minutes.
7) Carefully remove the jars from the water, and allow to sit until cold. You will know if they are properly sealed by pressing the top of the jar: if it doesn't 'pop' in and out, it is sealed. If any are unsealed, simply put them in the fridge and use within a week.
If using kilner jars, you should loosen or remove the screw part of the lid, so that it doesn't rust. The top will stay completely sealed.
Store the jars in a cool dark cupboard.