The Secret In The Applesauce

 
The secret is in the sauce.

 

Sometimes a little applesauce with my pork loin or roast, or as a side dish or even a dessert helps create the perfect meal. Now, you may be happy buying applesauce off the shelf, but it’s really a simple dish to make and tastes so much better when you’ve made it yourself. Today, I’m going to share a secret that makes applesauce truly amazing. Curious? Then please read on.

 

There’s really nothing complicated about applesauce. If you just want enough for dinner you could make a quick batch in about 30-40 minutes. However, if you prefer it cold, you will need to make it a few hours beforehand so you can pop it in the refrigerator.

 

2 jars of freshly canned applesauce.

This isn’t just a recipe for applesauce. We’ll also show you how to can it.

I promised a secret so here it is: Don’t limit yourself to apples. Recently my wife made applesauce and added a few pears into the mix. The result was amazing! This was easily the best “applesauce” either of us enjoyed in years. And as I write this, I’m thinking there are any number of additional fruit combinations worth trying. Hey, if you come up with one you like, we’d love to hear about it.

 

Enough said. Let’s mix up a batch. Today we’re also going to show you how to go about canning applesauce, but we’ll do that down below. And don’t worry: Canning isn’t a requirement when the plan is to store your applesauce in the refrigerator and eat it up over the next several days.

 

 

Let’s Gather The Ingredients

 

To make about 2 pints (i.e. 1 quart) of “apple-pear” sauce, here’s what we’ll need:

 

Harvest time is an excellent time to make applesauce.

Are some of these funny shaped apples? If you aren’t sure, click on the picture to find out.

4 large apples peeled (your favorite)

4 Bartlett or other favorite pears peeled

3 teaspoons of “Vanilla” sugar (see below)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2-3 tablespoons water

 

Preparation

 

A Chinois set can make canning fruit a snap.

A Chinois set comes with a strainer basket, stand and pestle.

The hardest part of the whole process is peeling and preparing the fruit. You don’t have to peel it if you have a Chinois set (pictured left).

 

A corer divider can save time if you're making applesauce.

This corer divider works great for cutting up the fruit.

With a Chinois set you can cook the fruit down first and then press it through the strainer. The stem, skin and seeds will stay behind leaving only the sauce to deal with. However, if you don’t have a set or are making a small batch like the one above, then peeling by hand is certainly an option. My wife and I did it by hand for the pictures here, though we did use a “corer and divider” that made slicing pieces easier.

 

Cutting up an apple.

Cut up the fruit and toss it in a large pot.

Assuming you’re peeling everything by hand, a small paring knife and a cutting board are all you really need. After peeling, slice the fruit into small chunks. Put all the chunks in a large pot.

 

We're adding cinnamon here.

Add the sugar, cinnamon and a little bit of water, then set the temp on medium high.

Next add, the vanilla sugar, cinnamon and a couple tablespoons of water (to keep the fruit from initially scorching on the stove) and then turn the burner to medium high heat. If you don’t have vanilla sugar you could substitute plain white sugar and a dollop of pure vanilla extract. However, vanilla sugar is easy to make and definitely worth having around.

 

Vanilla sugar tastes great in just about everything.

Here’s my vanilla sugar jar.

To whip up a batch of your own vanilla sugar (which goes great in most everything) pour some plain white sugar in a one pint canning jar. Next, take a whole vanilla bean and slice it down the middle. Then scrape the seeds and interior out into the sugar. Pop the bean exterior into the sugar too. Now, stir it up and cover the jar with a lid and let it sit a few weeks. That’s all there is to infusing the sugar with a wonderful vanilla flavor.

 

The applesauce is almost done.

Stir occasionally as the fruit is cooking. You don’t want to scorch it.

Back to our pot: Allow the apple-pear mixture to boil and bubble for about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from scorching.

 

Blending my applesauce.

An immersion blender like this one is a must for every kitchen. Blend anything from applesauce to soups right in the pot.

When the pears and apples have softened, turn off the burner and use an immersion blender to grind them. If you don’t have one, you could use a food processor or blender, but first let the fruit cool down to avoid burns that could easily result from hot splashing fruit.

 

My applesauce is done.

This applesauce is ready to eat as is, or makes a fun canning project.

If you don’t plan on canning, allow your sauce to cool and then serve.

 

If you aren’t sure about canning or  haven’t done it before, you may enjoy reading our post: “In A Jam With A Passionate Friend”.

 

Sterile lids and jars are critical for safe canning.

Plan ahead when you can. Start sterilizing your lids and jars early so they’ll be ready when you are.

When canning food it helps to think ahead. Canning requires sterilized jars and lids. If you put those on the stove to boil before or around the same time you start the sauce they’ll be ready to go when you need them. Otherwise, it can add an additional 25 minutes to the process.

 

Let’s Can

 

The basic steps for canning this apple-pear sauce are as follows:

 

I love canning.

Special canning tongs are great for pulling your jars from the pot.

Sterilize the lids and jars by boiling them in a bath of water for 20 minutes.

 

Taking care to remove them from the hot water with a canning tongs, drain and turn the jars upright.

 

I'm about ready to seal these jars.

Scoop your applesauce into your sterile jars. A wide-mouthed funnel helps tremendously.

Using a wide-mouth strainer, fill the jars almost to the top with applesauce.

 

Gently shake the jar to remove air bubbles.

 

We're sealing our jars.

This little magnet tool works great to pull hot lids out of a boiling bath and place them on the jars.

Place a sterilized lid on top each jar. If you have one, use a magnetic lid holder as pictured to do this. It’ll help avoid burns.

 

I've got rings on my jars.

Next put rings over the lids and tighten, but not too much.

Seal the lids with rings. The rings should be snug, but don’t crank them down to allow air to escape in the canning process.

 

Place the freshly filled and covered jars into a boiling bath for 20 minutes. The water level should be high enough to cover the top of the jars. Set the timer. (Note: When canning food it’s critical to boil or pressure-cook it for an appropriate time to kill bacteria. Cooking time varies depending on food type. Before canning on your own, we highly recommend getting advice from someone you know who loves canning, or getting the book “The Food Lover’s Guide To Canning” which provides wonderful recipes and specific recommendations.)

 

We're almost done with today's canning project.

In this case, the jars have to “bathe” for 20 minutes. Not all foods are the same. Some require more time or pressure cooking.

When the timer goes off remove the jars from the boiling bath with a canning tongs and allow to cool. When they seal completely you should hear a “pop”. That’s it you’re done.

 

Whether the goal today was to make apple-pear sauce, plain old applesauce or come up with your own apple fruit concoction, I hope you like your batch as much as I love mine. Mmm. Now, this is good!

 

Enjoy!

 

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