How to Preserve Applesauce

Eight Methods:Prepare the Kitchen Work AreaPrep the ApplesSet up Your ColanderJar PreparationFilling the JarsCookingCleanupFinishing

Do you have a lot of apples available? Or perhaps you've always wondered how grandma "put up applesauce"? Here is how you can fill your pantry with delicious, all natural, applesauce for your family to enjoy for some time to come.


  1. 1
    Obtain apples.
  2. 2
    Obtain canning supplies (see list below).

Method 1
Prepare the Kitchen Work Area

  1. 1
    Clear off at least 9 linear feet of counter space. You'll need at least 3 feet (0.9 m) on either side of a sink and some more besides.
  2. 2
    Thoroughly wipe down or possibly even disinfect the cleared area. Your applesauce will be thoroughly cooked when you are through, so don't worry about "sanitizing" too much.
  3. 3
    Lay down clean towels on the work areas. Apples are juicy, and you will be dealing with a certain amount of spillage no matter how careful you are, so it's best to be prepared. A towel under the chopping board area, a towel under the jar filling area, and a towel to place the hot jars on (using it as a largish "hot pad") works well.
  4. 4
    Set up your work areas. You'll need a cutting area, a filling area, and a cooling area (approx 3 linear feet per area).
  5. 5
    Prep the stove by pre-cleaning it thoroughly. Expect to clean it again when you are finished canning.

Method 2
Prep the Apples

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    Wash the apples in clean water. Avoid using soap, as it will flavor the sauce later. The purpose of washing is to remove dirt, leaves, etc from the fruit.
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    Quarter the apples. Don't bother to peel or remove stems, cores, seeds etc. Your colander will handle all of that later and the peel not only contains many nutrients, but (if using red apples) also will add a nice color to your sauce that will be very different from that jar you just bought at the grocers. For now, just concentrate on cutting the apples into uniform chunks for steaming.
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    Place half a cup of water in the bottom of the kettle you are using to cook the apples. This prevents the possibility of burning the apples instead of just steaming them. Some apples are juicier than others and you can skip the water... but you'll need to experiment with your variety of apple to know how much water to add to get the finished consistency you want.
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    Fill the kettle with quartered apples.
  5. 5
    Place the kettle on the stove, place the lid on the kettle and turn the burner on high.
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    Cook the apples until they expand with steam. The apples should readily "mush" when touched. If apples are rubbery at all, let them cook longer. Extra cooking will not hurt the apples, but under cooking them will make your colander (and possibly your arm) work harder.

Method 3
Set up Your Colander

  1. 1
    Choose your colander.

    • An old fashioned hand colander. This looks like a perforated cone with a wooden pestle. This is the most work intensive of the colanders available. You put the apples inside and smash them through the holes.
    • A Foley Food Mill. This looks like a saucepan with a perforated bottom and a paddle with handle that is turned to press the food through the grate. This is still quite labor intensive. You put the apples inside, place the mill over the sauce container, and press the cooked apples through the holes. Stems, seeds and skin are left behind, so you will need to do this in batches, removing the seeds, etc. periodically.
    • Victorio Strainer. This clamps to your counter top. You place the apples in the hopper at the top and crank the handle to corkscrew the apples through the long, cone shaped colander. Applesauce comes out the strainer; Seeds, stems and skin come out the hole on the end. You will need two catching containers... one for sauce, one for the un-sauceable portions of the apples.
    • A strainer attachment to a food processor (shown in the pictures) works like the Victoria Strainer, but the machine provides the cranking power, saving your arm a lot of work.
  2. 2
    Send the cooked apples through the strainer. Keep two containers under the outlets. One for sauce, One for stems/seeds etc.
  3. 3
    Add sugar or spices to the sauce if desired.
  4. 4
    Stir in well.

Method 4
Jar Preparation

  1. 1
    Ensure that the jar lip is smooth, with no chips or cracks.
  2. 2
    Sterilize the jars using one of the following methods:

    • Placing them, opening down, in a canner with boiling water. Allow the jars to boil/steam for around 10 minutes.
    • Put the empty jars on the rack in the oven, turn it on to 250 degrees, and leave them to heat for 10 minutes.
    • Put about 1" of water in each jar and microwave them for 4-5 minutes per jar.
  3. 3
    Remove the jars and place them on towels near the colander for filling.

Method 5
Filling the Jars

  1. 1
    Place a jar funnel in the opening of a jar. You can use other methods for filling, but the funnel avoids a lot of mess associated with spoons, pitchers, measuring cups, etc.
  2. 2
    Pour or spoon the newly squeezed applesauce into the jars.
  3. 3
    Leave "headroom" in the jars. Fill only to the "shoulder" of the jar to allow for expansion of the contents while cooking.
  4. 4
    Inspect each jar to ensure that the jar lip is clean, with no sauce or bits of pith on it. Wipe any apple residue off of the lip of the jar before placing the lid.
  5. 5
    Place a new, unused jar lid on the opening with the rubber seal down on the glass.
  6. 6
    Hold the jar lid in place with a jar ring.
  7. 7
    Snug down the jar ring, but do not over tighten. The object is to allow steam to escape while cooking, yet have the lid seal when the jar cools.

Method 6

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    Place the rack in the canner.
  2. 2
    Place the filled jars, lid end up, on the rack in the canner.
  3. 3
    Lower the filled jars into the hot water bath using the rack handles.
  4. 4
    Place the lid on the canner and boil for at least 15 minutes for pints, 20 minutes for quarts. Check canning books for time variances for higher altitudes etc. This will pasteurize the contents.
  5. 5
    Remove the lid of the canner and lift the jars using the rack.
  6. 6
    Allow the jars to cool slightly before using the jar tongs to remove them from the canner and placing them on the towel covered countertop.
  7. 7
    Allow the jars to cool. You should hear the jar lids sealing closed with a little "Plink" noise when their lid oilcans down due to the cooling air inside the jar creating a vacuum.
  8. 8
    Remove the jar rings after the jar has sealed and wipe away any fruit residue from the outside of the jars.
  9. 9
    Refrigerate any unsealed jars of applesauce to prevent them going bad quickly. Eat them as soon as possible or re-boil them with new lids and rings to seal them.
    • Some cooks will flip an unsealed jar upside down (with the lid still on) to put the still warm applesauce up against the lid. This warms the gasket on the lid and may be enough to cause the jar to seal.
  10. 10
    Store sealed jars in a cool, dry place for up to several years.

Method 7

  1. 1
    Rinse all utensils carefully. There's nothing grosser (or more difficult) to remove than year old applesauce on your equipment when you do this again next year.
  2. 2
    Use a scrub brush to help you remove all of the apple residue from the colander.
  3. 3
    Wash the towels separately from other laundry, as apple residue can leave stains on light clothing.
  4. 4
    Clean the counter tops and stove again.
  5. 5
    Mop the floor. Cooked apple quarters have a nasty habit of "jumping" to the floor at inopportune times. Finding them later with your foot can be disconcerting at best.

Method 8

  1. 1
    Enjoy your delicious and healthy home made applesauce on pancakes, waffles, or by itself.


  • Fix an unsealed jar by: checking the jar opening for cracks or debris first. Replace the lid, and reboil the contents to re-sterilize and hopefully seal.
  • If a jar does not seal, the most likely culprits are: Chipped or cracked jar, Lid ring not snugged down enough, jar opening not wiped clean before placement of lid.
  • To add a label to the lid, buy some blank stickers from an office supply store sized 1" x 1 1/2". Personalize with your computer or draw on with markers.
  • Sometimes you can turn an unsealed jar upside down (ring and lid still in place) to allow the still hot applesauce to come in contact with the rubber seal to soften it. This also puts weights on the jar opening, putting pressure against the lid so that it will come more closely in contact with the rubber seal ring on the lid.
  • Jars of home canned applesauce make nice gifts. Just tie a bow around the neck of the jar and give.
  • You could use an apple corer/slicer to core and slice the apples quickly.
  • If a jar still does not seal, refrigerate the contents and eat it within a week. The food is only safe to eat (in the future) if it has been sterilized and sealed while still very hot.
  • You can add spices such as cinnamon or allspice to the applesauce at the same time you mix in sugar if you like.


  • Do not take short-cuts with the sterilization of containers and the pasteurization (cooking of the filled jar). It is these two steps which will ensure that the sauce will be preserved through its shelf-life.
  • This is a hot job, done with boiling hot food... exercise appropriate caution to avoid burns.
  • Do NOT eat any applesauce which smells bad or has mold growing in it (indicates that the jar did not seal when cooked or was not cooked long enough).

Things You'll Need

  • Canner with rack and lid
  • Jar tongs
  • Kettle for boiling apples
  • Canning Jars
  • Canning Lids (appropriately sized for the jar)
  • Canning Lid Rings (also sized for the jar)
  • Towels
  • Stove
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Access to a sink
  • Apples
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

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