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Canning applesauce is a simple and economical way to preserve apples, because when properly preserved, applesauce can last for about three years. Homemade applesauce has many advantages over store-bought applesauce, as it is free of additives, chemicals, and preservatives, and can be made specifically to suit and individual’s taste. Choose apples that are naturally sweet, to cut down on the amount of sugar that needs to be added to the applesauce before canning. The canning jars need to be thoroughly cleaned before using, and this can be done most quickly by placing them in a dishwasher. There are many tools and appliances that can be used to turn cooked apples into applesauce, but many find a food processor with the proper attachments to be the most convenient option.
Choosing the right apples is the most important step when canning applesauce. Using naturally sweet apples like Jonathan apples, red delicious, yellow delicious, winesap apples and honeycrisp apples means having to add less sugar to the applesauce. Cooking the apples in all-natural apple juice instead of water will also add to the sweetness. Those who like applesauce that is less sweet can use more tart apples like granny Smith’s. Using a combination of tart and sweet apples can help achieve the taste they desire.
Also important when canning applesauce is choosing the right canning jars. If the applesauce is going to be frozen, be sure to choose canning jars that are freezer safe. Before canning the applesauce, thoroughly clean the jars by running them through a dishwasher’s sanitize cycle.
Alternatively, the jars can be boiled in a pot for ten minutes. Applesauce should be kept hot until canning, and cool jars can end up breaking when filled with hot applesauce. Keeping the jars warm by leaving them in hot water or in the dishwasher will prevent breakage.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the tool to sieve cooked apples into applesauce. A hand-cranked food mill is the most affordable choice, and might be the best option for those who will be making applesauce infrequently and in small quantities. Sieve grinders are more expensive, and are best for those who will be regularly making large amounts of applesauce. One can also use a food processor with the proper attachments. The benefit of using a food processor is that it is a multi-purpose appliance that can be used for cooking tasks other than canning applesauce.
It is important to taste the applesauce before canning it. Before canning the mixture, cooks can add sugar, water, and cinnamon to achieve the desired taste and consistency.