Appalachian Food

How I Make Applesauce

apples being processed for applesauce

Last week Nan asked if I’d share how I make applesauce. My recipe is really simple.

Since the ingredients are so simple, I never worry about how many apples I need or how much applesauce I’ll end up with. If I’ve got at least a bucket full of apples I just go for it!

Before you get started give your apples a good wash. I know mine haven’t been sprayed with anything, but since I leave the peelings on when I make applesauce I want to make sure I get rid of any dust, grit, or bugs.

The Ball Canning Book says to peel your apples before turning them into sauce, but I think Miss Cindy and Granny’s way is so much easier! Leaving the peeling on saves time and energy. It also allows you to get every ounce of apple goodness.

I take a small paring knife and cut the blossom end out of the apple and remove the stem. Then I quarter the apple. If I see a bad place or a worm I remove them with my paring knife. I don’t worry about the seeds.

Place quartered apples in a large sauce pot. Add water until you see it began to come up around the apples. Cook until apples are soft.

Once apples are cooked, drain and run them through a ricer or food mill to separate the lovely sauce from the peelings and seeds.

Discard peelings and seeds.

Put applesauce in a large sauce pot. I sit my ricer over my pot as I process the apples, so that’s one less dish to wash.

Add sugar to taste or don’t add any at all. I don’t add much sugar, if any, at this point because I know I can add it when I open a jar to serve. If you’d like to add cinnamon or other spices this is the place where you would add them to taste.

Bring applesauce to a boil. Make sure your lid is on the pot and make sure you don’t wander away to far from the stove. Applesauce pops and squeaks and makes the biggest mess when it begins to boil. It also scorches very quickly.

Ladle hot applesauce into sterilized jars and seal. Process jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Allow processed jars to cool and double check that each jar sealed. If one didn’t seal pop it in the frig and eat it first.

Applesauce freezes very well too, so if you don’t feeling like canning, freeze applesauce in serving size portions.

Granny and Pap always called applesauce fruit. Granny used to call me and say “Bring the girls down for a while. Your Daddy just opened a jar of fruit and I’m going to make some biscuits.”


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  • Reply
    John Love
    July 29, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    You say you put the apples thru the ricer. We use what we call a gricer. It is cone shaped, with little holes. We use a pestle to push the food thru. Does this sound like your ricer?

    • Reply
      July 30, 2019 at 6:36 am

      John-yes that’s exactly what my ricer looks like šŸ™‚ It works perfectly for Applesauce!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 29, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    And Ron Stephens,
    I think Pinnacle Creek is in West Virginia. I”ve enjoyed her comments for Years and I can tell she’s real smart. Pure Appalachian, as well as others on Tipper’s Blog.

    Back when I got out of High School, I went to Coalwood West Virginia to work in a Shaft for Dude Hardin. When he drove his Jeep up, I noticed he carried a Saw-off Shotgun and wouldn’t anybody behind him. I asked him why he carried that thing to work, and he replied that some one had said they’d shove him in that hole if they got the chance. I took one look down into the Shaft and quickly decided that wasn’t for me. You had to ride a rig straight down for about 1/2 mile, then it opened up into a city when you got out. (the Shaft diameter was as an 8 foot hole.) …Ken

  • Reply
    July 29, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Iā€™m now 90 years old with such great memories of Apple recipes from the 1940s. Sad ..but we left the mtns for Lowcountry of SC and NO Apples. I finally learned to adapt my apple receipt to PEARS. A bit of cinnamon and nutmeg and lemon juice made them delicious. Left peel on pears too when cooking down.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 29, 2019 at 9:34 am

    I don’t care too much for applesauce but I love apple butter. Last year Dusty brought me some “deer apples”. They were small, lopsided and very dirty but they were only $6.00 for a whole bushel. Hunters use them to lure deer to where they want them. I used them for apple butter. I also made some seasoned dried apple chip that my daughter and daughter in law went crazy over.
    $6.00! You can pay that much for two apples at Ingles! Plus, the people offered to buy the bushel bags back. $1.00 each, but I kept them. They are like a tow sack only made of synthetic material.

    I did have to peel the deer apples. They were labor intensive but I didn’t have anything to do anyway.

    • Reply
      July 30, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Ed, may I ask how you make your apple butter? I’m not clear on what the difference is between the butter and the sauce. Is it really thick boiled-down applesauce, or is it also seasoned differently or processed differently somehow? Thank you šŸ™‚

  • Reply
    July 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Mom loved apples and preserved them any way she could. She didn’t peel her apples when she made applesauce, apple butter or jelly. To this day apple jelly is still my favorite, but none compares to the jelly Mom made.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Fried apples and biscuits are a common Appalachian favorite for breakfast. Sometimes apples are frozen for this. So many different recipes available for apples, but my favorite has to be fried apple pies. They are usually for sale for fundraisers, and every family has at least one cook who makes delicious fried apple pies. Mom always put away lots of apples, and they came in handy for pies and fried apples when the long Winter came.

    • Reply
      Ron Stephens
      July 29, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      Pinnacle Creek : Oh my! Fried apple pies. I am probably being too earth-bound but I hope heaven has them. It has been so long since I had one.

      Your posts read so familiar to me, for instance what you wrote about ‘red dog’. Our driveway at the old home was made with red dog my Dad hauled in the old Willy’s jeep truck in truck bed he had made out of rough-sawn oak.

      Are you in (or from?) KY or West Virginia?

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 29, 2019 at 8:17 am

    We haven’t made applesauce this year. Instead, I have been trying to stay ahead of the birds, squirrels and deer by drying apples. I have dried 8 one-quart bags, way more than we will use, as one bag will make us probably four servings. Because I have been picking most of them up from the griund after their being knocked off, they are tart to say the least. But it is coming to an end. Apples are nearly gone and the critters will finish them soon.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Wow! Thanks for your version of applesauce, Tipper. That is so much easier than peeling all the apples! Now, if I can just get my hands on some apples this fall…

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 29, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Yes, apple sauce, the easiest way ever and delicious. This way works best with the early soft apples. The old folks called it fruit because when they grew up it was the home made applesauce that was the only fruit available in the winter!

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