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How to Make and Preserve Applesauce

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

If you’ve never had homemade applesauce, you don’t know what you’re missing! Storebought applesauce is so bland after tasting your own. It’s not that difficult to make and freeze or you may can the extra for later and enjoy it in the winter. I’ve been making and canning applesauce since I was a kid on the farm and I like eating right out of the jar.

Usually, I scout the area for wild apples in the autumn, but sometimes they are scarce. Some years I buy them from a local orchard or order juice-grade organic apples from Azure Standard for our applesauce. This year I picked apples from a friend’s tree with permission and I shared jars of applesauce and apple jam with her in return.

Maple Spice Applesauce
Homemade maple spice applesauce

How to Make Easy Applesauce

  • quarter apples
  • remove cores
  • add enough water to the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking
  • cook until apples are tender
  • cool until lukewarm
  • strain the cooked apples for smooth sauce or leave it chunky
  • add lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste, if desired

You can make applesauce from any amount of apples quite easily and you really don’t need a recipe. I started by quartering the apples and removing any bad spots, along with the seeds and stems.

Next, I put the apples and a little bit of water into my heavy stainless steel stockpot and cooked them on our woodstove. When they were soft I removed them and cooled the pot down, then stuck it all in the fridge overnight.

A food mill, or Foley mill, strains out the skins.

How to Make Smooth Applesauce…

If I want a batch of applesauce to be smooth instead of chunky, put the apples through a food mill or Victorio strainer (#ads). The waste pulp may be a bit on the wet side. If so, run it through the strainer one more time to remove as much of the sauce as possible.

To enhance the natural flavor, I add lemon juice and sometimes a little honey for a bit more flavor. I also like to add a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon. If you are canning the applesauce, it should not be overly thick or the sauce may not heat up properly in the center of the jar.

This applesauce is quite delicious and, although there isn’t always enough to process in the water bath canner, I simply freeze the extra (see instructions, below).

How to Can Homemade Applesauce

Prepare your applesauce according to the instructions above. Sweeten to taste and add some lemon juice if your applesauce tastes a bit bland. Applesauce is acidic enough to safely process in a water bath canner as long as the sauce isn’t thick enough to trap air bubbles.

Keep the applesauce in the pan on a low burner, stirring occasionally to keep it nice and hot until you are ready to process it. Add water and bring to a boil again if the sauce gets too thick. To can your applesauce:

  • Fill a hot water bath canner with water, cover, and place on a burner on high.
  • Wash and inspect canning jars (don’t use chipped or otherwise damaged jars)
  • Place the jars in the canner of hot water until you are ready to fill them with applesauce or place them in another pot of hot water.
  • Prepare canning lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure that both the applesauce and canner filled with water come to a full boil.
  • Remove jars from the hot water and set them on a clean towel.
  • Place a canning funnel in a jar to make filling it easier.
  • Fill a jar with piping hot applesauce to 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe the rim of the jar.
  • Place a canning lid on the jar and screw on a clean metal screw band.
  • Use a jar lifter to carefully place the jar of hot applesauce into the wire rack of your canner.
  • Be careful not to tilt the jar, as this can allow sauce under the lid and prevent a proper seal.
  • Repeat until the canner is filled or the applesauce is used up. (Do not attempt to can partially filled jars as they won’t seal properly).
  • Carefully lower the metal rack of filled jars into the canner of hot water.
  • Place the lid on your canner and bring the water to a full rolling boil.
  • Keep the water boiling but turn the heat down slightly if the jars are getting jostled too much.
  • Process quart and pint jars of applesauce for 20 minutes (for elevations of 0 to 1,000 feet. Add 5 minutes for 1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 10 minutes for elevations from 3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 15 minutes to the processing time for elevations over 6,000 feet.)
  • When the processing time is done, turn the burner off, remove the lid, and allow the jars to sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. This helps prevent the siphoning (or leaking) of contents.
  • Use the jar lifter to remove the jars from your canner and place them on a cloth or towel to cool.
  • Do not remove the screw bands, press down on the lids, or disturb the jars for 24 hours to allow the jars to seal properly
  • The next day – test to make sure the lids are sealed properly. They will make a pinging sound when they seal. Properly sealed lids will not give when you press down on the center.
  • Remove the screw bands and wipe the jars with a clean damp cloth to remove any applesauce that could get moldy around the mouth of the jar.


Sometimes things don’t work out quite the way we expect and there are a few things that can go wrong when you can applesauce. Here are some things to watch out for and how to address them:

  • Applesauce is too thick – your applesauce should be a bit on the runny side for proper processing.
  • Air bubbles are trapped in the applesauce – run a knife blade through the sauce to release air bubbles.
  • Applesauce leaks under the lid – leave 1/2 inch headspace, remove air bubbles, and process jars at a low rolling boil to reduce jostling the jars (causing the product to leak).
  • Applesauce gets brown – add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per quart of sauce to prevent browning.

Decorate your mason jars of applesauce and other home-canned fruit preserves with your own home-printed fruit labels from my Etsy Shop!

How To Freeze Your Homemade Applesauce…

No time to can your applesauce? It’s easy to freeze it! Here’s how:

  • Cool the applesauce completely
  • Pack it into clean BPA-free freezer containers, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of headspace
  • Press the lid on tightly
  • Label your containers with the date and contents
  • Freeze for up to 1 year

How to Make the Easiest Batch of Applesauce!

Here is the easiest way to make a small batch of chunky applesauce:

  • peel, quarter, and core apples
  • chop coarsely
  • microwave until tender
  • sweeten with honey or sugar
  • add cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

You can make enough for a meal or snack this way in just a few minutes. Check out my easy recipe for Maple Spice Applesauce!

A Super Easy Applesauce Treat

Here’s a really easy way to turn that applesauce into a desert!

  • heat a bowl of applesauce in the microwave
  • crumble graham crackers over the top, or sprinkle with granola
  • sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream

This tastes almost like apple pie, but it is much easier to make…especially if you use the quick applesauce recipe above! I hope this little time-saving tip provides an easy alternative for a fall treat.

What is your favorite way to make applesauce? Leave a Comment!

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How to Make Homemade Applesauce - 2 Easy Recipes and Canning Instructions by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

8 Comments on “How to Make and Preserve Applesauce

    1. I often do the same, Kristie! But I think we are almost out of canned applesauce, so I think this is on my to-do list this fall!

  1. This year has been an overabundance of apple harvesting in the northeast and midatlantic. Since my husband came home with a crateful last week, this posting is timely for me. Don’t have a victorio strainer — what are its benefits — pureeing mostly? I overheard one woman this week say she makes her applesauce in a crockpot — not much fuss or bother that way!

    1. That’s wonderful, Gardenan! I mostly wanted to try the Victorio strainer to see how well it worked for removing the skins and hard parts of the core. It worked very well, but it is not necessary. It did puree the sauce to a nice consistency, but I also like chunky style applesauce. You can also just peel and core the apples and cook them down.

      The crockpot does work very nicely for making a small batch of applesauce. I don’t know if it would be enough for canning, but if you will use it up quickly or you want to freeze it, that isn’t an issue.

      If you want to make a batch large enough to can, you would want to process quite a few apples and cook them down in a big stock pot. Completely up to you!

      Best wishes with your applesauce! Next week I’m hoping to make apple jam…I’ll try to share the recipe. 🙂

  2. Your applesauce looks delicious. I make mine similarly and also use my Victorio strainer. Love that thing. Just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure they make the store stuff out of cardboard and high fructose corn syrup. 😉

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