Learn how to make your own homemade applesauce in this easy fall canning recipe! This sugar optional homemade applesauce is a great way to use up fresh apples! Enjoy it as a snack or use it to make dessert and more.
This post is sponsored by the makers of Ball® home canning products.*
You might be surprised by how easy it is to cook and can your own applesauce! There are a few steps but only a handful of ingredients. This homemade applesauce recipe can be made with or without sugar and as smooth or chunky as you like.
So let’s get started!
You will need
Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector
Bottled lemon juice
6 Pint Jars or 3 Quart jars
Saucepan or stockpot for cooking the applesauce
Water Bath Canner or a large, deep stockpot with a lid and rack
Jar lifter and headspace checker
Clean kitchen towels
A blender or food mill
Making homemade applesauce is a breeze.
This is an ideal recipe if you are new to home canning. Preparing the apples to cook will probably take the most time. If you have old enough kids, maybe they can help core and chop the apples.
TIP: If you’re going to be making lots of applesauce, I highly recommend using an electric or hand cranking apple peeler.
Though you can get apples all year long, fall is peak apple season. Depending on where you are in the country, you might be able to start picking apples as early as late August.
Fall apple picking is a fun family outing. But what do you do with all of those apples? This is a great recipe to use up the apples you might get after a successful apple picking with the family. And it’s the perfect solution for your apple picking bounty this fall.
With the right mix of sweet apples, you can easily skip the sugar in this recipe. Honeycrisp apples make for a particularly flavorful applesauce.
I used Gala in this recipe. They cook up quickly and I love the sweet flavor and texture. It can also be a bit more affordable than others like Honeycrisp and Fuji varieties.
This recipe is flexible. Use a blend of your family’s favorites. And if you have leftover apples, try making this Apple Cider Mocktail for a refreshing fall drink!
Tips for preparing your apples
As someone who just peeled 9 pounds of apples, after my electric peeler quit mid-process, I highly recommend either leaving the peels on and straining them out with a food mill OR investing in an apple peeler (the kind you crank or automatic).
You can also enlist the help of family and friends if you want. But once the apples are prepped the recipe moves along quickly.
- To peel or not to peel? You have options. I peeled my apples beforehand because I don’t have a food mill.
- Aim for consistent slices. Cut the apples into the same size wedges or chunks to ensure even cooking.
- Use a produce protector. Because it will take some time to prepare 8-10 pounds of apples, using Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector can help keep the apples from browning too much. Simply sprinkle it on the cut apples in batches as you work to chop the rest.
Canning homemade applesauce
To can your own applesauce, you’ll simply cook the cut apples with lemon juice, ladle into hot jars, and allow the jars to cool for at least 12 hours. Check the seal and you’re good to go!
If you decide to add sugar, add it during the cooking process and allow it to dissolve completely.
Make sure to buy and use bottled lemon juice to ensure the applesauce has a consistent level of acidity. Do not use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
It’s important to keep the applesauce hot. I used a quick read thermometer to make sure the pureed applesauce stayed at a boiling temperature.
I emphasize the point about lemon juice and keeping everything hot because it’s essential to use tested recipes when canning and follow them to the letter.This is not the time to freestyle it.
REMINDER: Once you’re done processing, remember to set the hot jars onto a towel. Space the jars at least one inch apart to allow plenty of room for them to cool properly. Let the jars stand 12-24 hours.
Scroll down for the full recipe and more tips.
Making applesauce without sugar
It’s easy to make no-sugar-added applesauce. The recipe below lists sugar as optional. And with the right mix of in-season apples you really won’t need it.
Let your taste buds be your guide. Skip the sugar or add a little based on your personal sweet tooth.
Per usual, I made this applesauce without added sugar. If you are seeking another fall spin made simply using an electric pressure cooker, try my homemade pear sauce.
Best jars for applesauce
This recipe makes about 6 Ball® Pint Jars or 3 Quart jars. Because I’m going to enjoy these myself and share some with my neighbors who don’t have large families, I decided to use the pint jars.
If you are canning for a family, the quart jars are the perfect size since you can likely use up the applesauce quickly after opening.
Either will work. Decide which size jar is the best fit based on how quickly you’ll be able to eat the applesauce.
Now that the work is done, enjoy your applesauce in many ways:
- Eat it just as is – maybe with a sprinkle of cinnamon!
- Use as a filling in tarts or pastry cups.
- Combine with yogurt or oats as a natural apple-flavored sweetener.
- Use to add moisture to baked goods like muffins or quick bread.
How will you use this recipe? Please let me know in the comments or on Instagram. I’m always looking for new ideas!
How to Can Homemade Applesauce
- 7 ½ to 10½ pounds apples (about 22 to 32 medium)
- Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector
- 1 to 1 ½ cups water
- 1 ¾ to 2½ cups sugar (optional)
- 3 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
- Wash apples under cold running water; drain. Remove stem and blossom ends. Peel if desired. Cut into quarters. Treat with Fruit-Fresh to prevent darkening.
- Drain apple quarters. Combine apples and water in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until soft, stirring to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Purée mixture using an electric food strainer or food mill to remove peels and seeds. Return apple pulp to saucepan. Add sugar, if desired, and lemon juice, stirring until dissolved. Bring applesauce to a boil (212°F), stirring to prevent sticking. Maintain temperature at a boil while filling jars.
- Ladle hot applesauce into a hot jar, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Center lid on the jar and adjust the band to fingertip-tight. Place the jar on the rack elevated over simmering water (180°F) in a boiling water canner, repeat until all jars are filled.
- Lower the rack into simmering water. Water must cover jars by 1 inch. Adjust heat to medium-high, cover canner, and bring water to a rolling boil. Process pint or quart jars for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool for 5 minutes. Remove jars from the canner; do not retighten the bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Test seals. Label and store jars.
- Eliminate the sugar for sugar free applesauce. Yes. The sugar in this recipe is optional.
- Chunky Applesauce: Coarsely crush half of the cooked apples and purée the other half; combine mixtures. Process as for applesauce.
- Don’t start counting the time until all jars are in and the water starts to boil. So, in this case, 20 minutes from when the water in the canner starts to boil.
*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post that is part of an ongoing partnership with the Fresh Preserving Division of Newell Brands. They have provided jars, equipment and monetary compensation. All thoughts and opinions expressed remain my own.