Fall announces its arrival with a sharp bite in the air and changing leaves. Apples are hanging from trees – ripe, delicious and ready for picking.
What if you could preserve the delicious taste of apples throughout the rest of the year? It is easy to make your own homemade applesauce and apple pie filling.
Apple season on our family farm arrives a bit early – June to be exact, which is when they ripen in our zone 9 garden. Cooler climates enjoy their apple season later in late summer or fall.
My children and I gather all the apples we can.
It is so easy to pick an apple off the tree and eat it with one hand while using your other hand to pick apples.
We aren’t the only ones who enjoy apple season
Once we cart our apples indoors, it is time to make applesauce.
Now, you may think that applesauce is fine to eat, but nothing exciting. Well, that is because you have never tasted freshly made applesauce. It is DELICIOUS!
12 pounds of apples are peeled, cored and cut into small chunks (about 36 medium apples).
If you have an apple peeler/corer device – this step is easy. However, if you do not – it helps to have someone help you with peeling and coring the apples. My daughter and I both made quick work of peeling and coring together.
*If you have a food mill – you don’t have to peel your apples.
Lemon juice is added along with 1 cup of water to keep the apples from browning and sticking while being cooked over the stovetop.
On medium-high heat bring to a boil before reducing the heat. Cook 5 – 20 minutes, stirring very once in a while until the apples are tender.
Add the cooked apples, a little at a time, to a food mill. OR, if you don’t have a food mill, then use a food processor or potato masher.
Put the pureed apples back into the pot and add 3 cups sugar and 4 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. At this point, you can eat your applesauce once it cools - it is so good!
You can also freeze your applesauce, which will allow your applesauce to last a long time – I like to use it within 1 year.
In order to preserve your applesauce without having to refrigerate it, they must be processed in a boiling water canner. Simply pour the hot applesauce mixture into sterilized jam jars and process them in a boiling water canner. Don’t be intimidated by using a boiling water canner. The equipment is inexpensive and you can can all sorts of fruits and vegetables. They will last for over a year in your pantry. For detailed instructions on how to can fruit, click here.
Homemade applesauce is so delicious. So whether you freeze it or can it – you will be enjoying the fresh taste of apples, even when apple season is a faint memory.
For a recipe on how to make your own applesauce, click here.
**Sometimes when I am finished making applesauce, I have leftover apple slices…
Because I love to bake pies, I simply take my leftover apple slices and make homemade apple pie filling. Simply add your favorite apple pie seasonings and put them in a plastic freezer bag and keep them frozen until you are ready to make a pie.
I hope you are inspired to preserve your apple harvest by making applesauce and/or your own homemade apple pie filling.
For more information on how to preserve fruits and vegetables, check out the National Center For Home Food Preservation, which has detailed instructions on how to can food along with recipes.