Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chunky Applesauce: An Excellent Adventure in Home Canning

I'm still pretty green when it comes to the art of home canning. Last year, I managed to eke out about eight 1/2-pint jars of Zinfandel grape jelly, but it was still a nerve-wracking process because I didn't have proper equipment (used a large stock pot to boil the jars, lids & rings, candy thermometer, and just a pair of tongs to move everything around). 

This year, with our more substantial harvest of fruits, Gilbert got all generous and bought me a Presto pressure canner with accessories (jar lifter, funnel & wrench). 

Kinda like getting a state-of-the-art Dyson vacuum cleaner from your hubby for your birthday (you know what I mean, ladies). Hey - thanks, dude, for making my household chores proceed more efficiently (fuggedabout the practical stuff like jewelry from Tiffany's). I'm eternally grateful. Really. Can't wait to test drive this puppy. Ahem. Righto. Just waitin' for Godot now...

But I honestly can't complain about having decent canning equipment. This is something I actually relish doing. Our semi-dwarf Golden Dorsett apple tree produced an amazing amount of well-formed fruit this year, so I decided to go the chunky applesauce route in this canning adventure.

8/1/10 Gil with a bucket of freshly picked Golden Dorsett apples. Hana is directly behind him, checking things out, just to make sure this wasn't potential poochie fodder. NOT!!!

8/8/10 Lookin' ripe & ready!

8/8/10 We decided to use 1-pint mason jars for the applesauce.

7 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and chopped (2" dice)
2 cups sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 cups water

1. In a large pan, combine 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar over medium-low heat. Stir until dissolved. 

2. Add chopped apples and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until apples are soft and translucent (about 30 minutes). 

3. When apples are tender, remove from heat and mash with potato masher to desired consistency. Add 1 more cup of sugar (or to taste). Stir in 2 T. lemon juice. 

4. Put applesauce back on the burner and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until sauce is thickened. 

5. Ladle applesauce into hot mason jars (use funnel for a cleaner delivery), filling about half full - then use rubber spatula to press out any air bubbles. Fill jars up to 1/2 inch from the top. Tamp down again with rubber spatula to remove any air bubbles. 

6. Wipe down rims of the jars with a damp cloth to remove any applesauce drips. Cover jars with hot lids and tighten screw rings around them. 

7. Place applesauce jars in a hot water bath (200F) and process for 20 minutes. Make sure water level is at least an inch over the tops of jars. 

8. Remove jars to a clean towel and let cool. Test lids after they have cooled - press the center, and if it doesn't pop up or down, then the lid is properly sealed. Store in a cool, dark location for up to one year. 

*Disclaimer: always follow recipes and manufacturer's instructions on water & pressure canners to the tee. Otherwise, you might end up with a bad case of botulism! You see why I as a newbie get so stressed out with canning? 

Dissolve 2 cups of water & 1 cup of sugar in a large pan.

Gil, kung-fu master of peeling, coring and dicing apples. At least he looks mildly enthusiastic here about sous-chefing on this formidable project. 

Add diced apples to the dissolved sugar-water mixture. 

In the meantime, filled the large pressure canner pot about 2/3 full of water. This baby can double as a water canner. Low acid foods need to be pressure canned, but since this applesauce has a higher acid content (with the added lemon juice), the water canning method will work just fine. 

Gil graduating from kung-fu apple peeler to master mason jar washer. Before boiling the jars, lids, and screw bands, you should wash them out thoroughly with soap & water.

Let them all hang out to dry.

Heat water to 180F. A candy thermometer works great to track the temp. Put jars, lids and screw bands in water bath (do not boil) until ready to use. 

In the meantime, apples are cooking down.

Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until apples are tender and translucent.

Remove jars, lids, and screw bands from 180F water bath. Place on clean dry towel. 

Mash the tender apples with a potato masher to desired consistency. 

Pour apple sauce into sterilized jars (up to 1/2" from top). A funnel helps to keep everything in place. 

With tongs, place lids on top of jars.

Next, screw the screw bands in place around the lids. 

Place the jars of applesauce in a 200F water bath and process for 20 minutes. 

All done. We placed these in a cool, dry, dark location and will do a taste test in a couple weeks. May the force be with us...

1 comment:

  1. wow this is so concise - I think anyone who was trying this out for the first time would find it easy following your instructions. I don't make things like this but my neighbour makes things like apple jelly, plum jam and different relishes for me.