How to Make Homemade Applesauce

applesauce

The Apples for the Applesauce

You can choose the kind of apples you use to make your own homemade applesauce. The choices are as many as the opinions on which type is the best. I’ve used yellow delicious and golden delicious, which work well. I’ve used Grimes Golden and I’ve used Mutsi Crispin. Summer Rambo is another brand that is a favorite. All of them work well. You will want an apple that is a little tart and not too soft. You will also want one that is sweet because you will need to add less sugar (or no sugar at all) if the apple is sweet enough.

When our kids were small, we begged apples off neighbors who were letting their apples drop to the ground. They were happy to have us come pick the apples so they didn’t have to deal with the rotten apples on the ground. I never did find out exactly what kind of apples we were using, but it didn’t matter. The apples were free, the sauce was tasty, and I had plenty of free labor from my kids. It was common for me to can 50+ quart of applesauce at a time. One summer my sister-in-law and I (with our kids and later some help from our husbands) canned over 100 quarts of applesauce and 40+ quart¬†homemade apple pie filling. I’m not sure our kids ever forgave us for putting them to work when they came home from their first day of school that August!

In the past few years, I’ve been able to get Mutsu Crispin apples. These apples are green to start but then turn a dark red. I store the apples in a cool room for a few weeks and turn them, watching them change from green to yellow to red. I don’t need to add any sugar to these apples. This fall I was given two bushels of a yellow-green-red apple that was firm and sweet. I don’t know what kind they were, but they were so sweet that I did not need to add any sugar. These apples are the ones you see in these photos.

The Method for Making Applesauce

Some folks like to peel and core their apples and then cook them down to the sauce. There is no straining for this method, but it takes more time because every peel, seed, and core has to be removed. We tend to like to do things the way we always did it, so I’m partial to using the cook and sieve method. If you’re used to the peel and cook method, that’s okay; but you don’t need to extol its virtues in response to this method. ūüôā

With this method, a squeezo-strainer makes quick, easy work of forming sauce from the cooked apples, peels and all. If the apples are small, I cut them in half and throw them into the kettle to cook. You do not need to remove the stem or the seeds. If the apples are large, I quarter them. The smaller the pieces, the less time it will take to cook them down. It’s better to cook the apples slower because the sauce will be less runny. You’ll figure out how high to have your burner after you have cooked a kettle or two of apples.

Let’s get started! Homemade Applesauce is not hard to do!

  • Wash your jars, jar rings, and lids so they are clean. I usually put my jars and rings through the dishwasher. I rinse the new rings in hot water in a stove-top kettle.
  • Check the tops of the jars to make sure there is a smooth surface and no dents in the top, or the lids will not seal. Use canning jars and do not use jars that have a nick on the top.

applesauce

  • Set up your squeezo-strainer and run a little bit of water through to make sure all places have a tight seal.

applesauce

  • Gather your apples and wash them thoroughly in cold water.

applesauce

  • Drain the apples. I use several colanders set on a large tray.

applesauce

  • Slice apples into halves or quarters (depending on how large they are) and put them into salt water. The salt keeps the apples from turning brown. Just sprinkle a dash or two in the water.

applesauce

  • When you are ready to start cooking, put apples into a kettle and add water. If the apples are drier, you will need to add more water. For some apples, I barely have the bottom of the kettle covered. For others, you might need to fill the kettle half full. You want the apples to cook without being runny but without sticking to the bottom of the kettle. You’ll figure it out with a little trial and error, especially after you’ve cooked a kettle or two of apples.

applesauce

  • Cook until the apples are soft. They need to be soft enough to run through the sieve but not so soft that they are mushy.

applesauce

  • Remove the cooked apples from the stove top and put them into the colander of your squeezo. Reminder: keep small children away from this step so they will not get splattered with sauce and get burned!
applesauce

The seeds that you see will go through the colander and be pushed out with the peelings.

 

applesauce

My neighbors came to help me one day! The wooden “stomper” helps push the sauce through the strainer. The sauce goes down the tray and the peelings come out the other side as the handle is turned, helping to move things along.

Here is the sauce coming down the “slide”.

applesauce

Such a delicious aroma!

The seeds and peelings come out this side. We feed this to our cows, who wait anxiously by the fence for this treat!

applesauce

  • Put the sauce into a container and TASTE it FIRST. You might not need to add any sugar! Remember that it will taste sweeter once it has cooled, so don’t add too much sugar. Start with 1/4 cup in an¬†8- quart container, then taste before adding more sugar.

applesauce

  • When your applesauce is seasoned right, put the sauce into the jars. Wipe the edge of the rim carefully, then add the lid and the ring, making a tight seal.

applesauce

  • Process¬†the sauce in the jars according to hot water bath or pressure canner directions.
  • When you remove the jars from your hot water bath or canner, the lids might not be sealed yet. Don’t panic. Give it time, and soon you’ll hear the ping! ping! ping! of jars sealing.
  • Let your jars cool. Wait at least twenty-four hours to move them. This helps everything settle and lets you check to make sure all the lids have a tight seal. Plus, it’s so much fun to look at those rows of freshly-canned applesauce!
  • Once the jars are sealed, you can remove the rings and re-use them for more canning.

There you have it. It’s a lot easier than it seems, and the extra effort is worth the trouble because you know exactly what is in your homemade applesauce. There’s a satisfaction in knowing that you are the one who controls what goes into the food your serve at your table. Nowadays, 99% of my applesauce is sugar free. Choose the right apple, and you can serve the best at your table, too.

applesauce

 

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If you are interested in the equipment used to make applesauce, here are some suggestions. I use a metal squeezo-strainer. I think the plastic one squeezo would work, but I think the metal one is more durable. The secret in using the metal one is making sure it is washed and dried thoroughly so rust will not occur. I also have two different pressure canners, which I use. The two listed here are the type I use currently. The apple slicer/corer/peeler is what I use when I make homemade apple pie filling. If you want to make applesauce without using the squeezo-strainer, then I recommend something that peels and cores the apples to make life simple for you.

Vegetable Pizza

vegetable pizza

Vegetable pizza is a snazzy appetizer, snack, or side dish for any event or meal. You can make your crust ahead of time or fix it that day. This recipe makes two large cookie trays, so if you don’t need that large a serving, put the rest into the freezer for a later time.

If you’re pushed for time, you can use crescent rolls or dough sheets. I like to make my own crust because I know exactly what is in it, so I am sharing this crust recipe, which comes from my sister Alice.

vegetable pizza

The vegetable pizza crust

For the toppings, you can add whatever you prefer. I use a food chopper for the cauliflower and broccoli, and a shredder for carrots. You can add onions, bacon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and/or celery. Top with shredded cheddar cheese or you can use a mozzarella cheese.

vegetable pizza

Vegetable Toppings

After the crust is baked and cooled, spread the filling over the crust. Then add your vegetables and your cheese. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

vegetable pizza

Ready to Serve

Vegetable Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
An easy addition to a festivity or an outdoor event. Fix ahead and add your vegetables and cheese as the last, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Ingredients
  • DOUGH:
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 4½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp. warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • FILLING:
  • ½ cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. dill weed
  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp. onion powder (optional)
  • Toppings:
  • Chopped or shredded vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, onion
  • Shredded cheese
Instructions
  1. DOUGH:
  2. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.
  3. Beat eggs and add the rest of the ingredients to make a soft dough.
  4. Let rise for 45 minutes (if you have the time).
  5. spread or roll out onto two cookie sheets.
  6. Prick the dough.
  7. Let rise for 10 minutes, then bake
  8. Bake at 375 until light brown (about 10 minutes). Do not overbake.
  9. When cool, spread the FILLING over the crust
  10. Sprinkle vegetables - in layers- over the crust, salting cucumbers and tomatoes if you prefer
  11. Sprinkle shredded cheese over all
  12. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

vegetable pizza

 

 

Oven-baked Potato Medley

This oven-baked potato medley is delightful and delectable. Our daughter-in-law Katie fixed them a few weeks ago when she and Jason dropped in for a visit. Jason grilled the steak and she fixed the rest of the meal. Because they live near a Publix store, she was able to pick these up easily. [More information on obtaining these potatoes is below.]

Simple and easy, and oh so delicious! ¬†The potato medley adds a variety of color and flavor to any meal. Rinse the potatoes (they have already been washed). If they’re larger than bite-sized, just cut them into smaller pieces. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, red pepper flakes and turmeric if you’d like.

Put into the oven and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes (or more, if you are fixing an entire bag).

 

Potato Medley
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
A delightful different potato combination that's easy to fix, especially since the potatoes are so small and do not need to be peeled.
Ingredients
  • Sunrise Medley OR Celebration Blend potatoes
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Olive oil to coat
Instructions
  1. Rinse potatoes
  2. Sprinkle potatoes with olive oil, then roll to coat
  3. Season with sea salt, pepper, and any the other listed seasonings
  4. Add any other seasonings you'd like
  5. PUt onto tray and bake in oven for 15 minutes, turning as needed

 

potato medley

The potatoes from Publix

potato medley

photo credit: LeeAnne from Publix

potato medley

photo credit: LeeAnne from Publix

The Celebration Blend Potatoes is a product packaged only for Publix stores. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a Publix, you can purchase them there. ¬†If, however, you’re too far away, you can call their store in South Carolina that ships their produce. Here is the information: Publix Aprons Event Planning Team (LeeAnne).¬†Phone: 803.407.5338.¬†Desk Hours, 7 days a week¬†10:00am-7pm.150 Harbison Blvd.¬†¬†Columbia SC 29212

The company that produces these potatoes for Publix is Tasteful Selections. You can learn about them here: www.tastefulselections.com. They package a similar product, called Sunrise Medley.  You can find these in Safeway, according to Tim. Their number: 800.678.2789. Ask to speak to Tim.

 

potato medley

Creamy Cucumber Salad

cucumber

Creamy Cucumber Salad.

It’s a great way to dress up garden cucumbers! There’s nothing like a cucumber fresh from the garden, washed, peeled and salted for summer flavor.

If you want to spruce it up a little and add some variety to your menu, try this recipe.

The Dressing

Make your own dressing in just a few minutes, slice (and/or peel) the cucumbers, and add the dressing. I think some extra pepper on the top adds just a little zing without making it hot.

cucumber

You don’t need to add a lot of dressing to the cucumbers, so be careful to add just a little and put the dish into the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, you can always add some more dressing. That’s better than having the cucumbers swimming in the dressing.

If you choose to shred the cucumbers, you will need even less dressing, because the cucumbers make a liquid of their own. I’ve fixed it both ways and I can’t tell you which way I like it the best. It rather depends on the rest of the menu and my mood.

Creamy Cucumber Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ½ cup
 
Mix your dressing ahead of time and keep it on hand for cucumbers or cabbage. Then it will be ready to go when you have a mess of cucumbers you want to serve.
Ingredients
  • Cucumbers - several cups sliced Optional: grate the cucumbers
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cream or milk
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel (optional) and slice cucumbers and refrigerate.
  2. Mix all ingredients together, stirring until well blended.
  3. Season cucumbers with salt and pepper
  4. Add dressing - a few tablespoons at a time
  5. Refrigerator until just ready to serve
  6. Add more dressing if necessary, then season with salt and pepper as needed

Pinterest Creamy Cucumber Salad