Friday, October 18, 2013

Canning Applesauce

I will begin this post with two disclaimers:

Disclaimer Number One: I am not a canning expert. I tried it for the first time this year and wanted to let you know how it went from a newbie's perspective. I mentioned the Pick Your Own website in Monday's post, and it was also a great resource for canning. Check it out for legit tutorial from experienced canners. 

Disclaimer Number Two: Canning is not for the faint of heart. It takes a long time, and it's fussy.

With the important stuff out of the way, I will begin at the very beginning. I thought about canning for years, but everyone says it's a pain in the neck (It is. But it's a worthwhile pain in the neck.), and I'm a little worried about getting botulism. Since the pioneers managed to can food to see them through the long, harsh Midwestern winters without getting botulism, I thought I could give it a try. I mean, they didn't even have dishwashers with a sanitize setting. 

So here goes nothing...

Step 1: Preparation
Canning isn't something you decide to squeeze in one afternoon between Maury Povich and Judge Judy. You need to make sure you have all the tools in place. Here's what you absolutely need to can applesauce:
  1. Jars. I ordered pint-sized Ball mason jars from Amazon. Then I realized they were cheaper at the grocery store. Dang it. 
  2. Apples. Obviously.  
Here's what is really doggone helpful but not technically necessary:
  1. Canning Pot with Rack. This is essentially a really big pot with a removable rack for the jars to sit on. You need to lift jars of applesauce in and out of a pot of boiling water. Think that through. How are you going to get the jars out of boiling water? You can't very well reach your hand in there. You can purchase a "jar grabber" tool--essentially jar-shaped tongs--but if I'm going to buy something, I want it to be the thing that will make my life easiest. I bought a Graniteware 21 Quart Canner with Rack.
  2. Wide Mouth Funnel. You could spoon the applesauce into the jars very neatly, but I'm not very neat. I bought a Progressive Canning Funnel. 
Step 2: Sanitize the Jars
You need clean jars to make sure you don't introduce any gross stuff into the applesauce. Remember my fear of botulism? Let's avoid that. Wash the jars and lids in the dishwasher. Then keep them hot until the applesauce is ready. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can wash them in hot, soapy water then boil them for 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Make Applesauce
On Monday I shared my recipe for Crockpot Applesauce. When I was canning, I made one batch of Crockpot Applesauce and one batch on the stove in the biggest pot I have. I used about 40 apples in total, and it cooked down to make nine jars of applesauce. So, if you want to fill a bunch of jars, make a bunch of applesauce.

Step 4: Start Canning
First, fill the canning pot with hot water and bring it to a boil. Since it's a gigantic pot, it takes a while for the water to boil.

Meanwhile, fill your jars with applesauce. Take a clean jar from the dishwasher and use the funnel to pour applesauce into the jar. You want the applesauce to come within 1/4" of the top of the jar. Place a clean lid on top of the jar and screw it on. Repeat until all jars have been filled.

Place filled jars in the wire canning rack. Very gently lower the rack into the canning pot. Make sure the water covers the tops of the jars by 1-2 inches. Bring the water back to a boil. Once the water is boiling, start the timer. Boil the jars for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up, very carefully remove the rack from the water; you don't want the jars to jostle around.

Store the jars in a place where they won't get bumped until they cool completely, probably overnight. Once the jars have cooled, check to make sure they're sealed. (The lid should be sucked down. If you can push it up and down, it's not sealed.)

Now congratulate yourself because you have successfully canned applesauce! 


  1. Marvelous frame of reference using Maury & Judge Judy. ;)

    1. Some say I watch too much TV. :-)