Canning 101: An Applesauce FAQ

October 21, 2014(updated on October 23, 2018)

pint of applesauce

When it comes to my own canning, I like to make a mix of fun things and pantry staples. That means that while I make plenty of highly spiced jams and fancy pickles, I also make a point of putting up a goodly amount of tomato puree and applesauce each year. I stir applesauce into oatmeal, bake it into cakes, and eat it straight from the jar when lunchtime pickings are slim.

One would think that applesauce would be a fairly straightforward thing to preserve, but it can be surprisingly tricky, particularly for new canners. After getting a number of questions about applesauce recently, I thought I’d put together a list of commonly asked applesauce questions and my answers, in the hopes of putting many minds at ease.


What is the best kind of apple for sauce?
I don’t really think that there’s any one apple that makes the best sauce and truly, the best apples to use are the ones you have. I have cooked any number of apples into sauce and it has always been delicious. I would advise that you start with apples that taste good to you and that are relatively free from damage or rot (cutting around a bad spot or two is totally fine).

If you’re working with relatively sweet apples, you can always add a little lemon juice to balance the flavor. If the fruit is quite tart, a little sugar or honey will help adjust the sweetness.


What is the best way to make applesauce?
Your apple saucing approach depends on the gear you have in your kitchen. For basic batches, all you really need is a peeler, a paring knife, and a potato masher. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Dump them into a big pot with a little water to prevent burning, and cook them on low until they are soft. Use the potato masher to smash them into a chunky sauce.

If you have a food mill or a tomato press with a saucing screen, you can skip the peeling process and put the cored and quartered apples right into your pot. Add a little water, over the pot, and simmer until the apples are tender. Then, work them through the food mill or tomato press. You’ll end up with a peel-free sauce with a uniform texture.

If you want to include the skins in your finished product, core and quarter the apples. Put them in a pot with a little water and cook until soft. Once they’re tender, work the apples through a blender in batches, pureeing until the apple skins are integrated. This works best with a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, Blendtec, or Ninja, but can be accomplished in regular blenders or with an immersion blender if you’re persistent.

I personally like a chunky applesauce, so often use an approach that blends the first and second techniques. I core and quarter my apples, but leave the peels on. I simmer the sauce until it’s tender. Once the fruit flesh has started to separate from the peels, I stand over the pot with a pair of tongs and pull the skins off the fruit. I work those peels through a food mill, to catch any bits of sauce, and then mash the remaining naked apples with a potato masher. You get the color and some of the vitamins from the peels and still retain the chunky consistency.

Apple-Pear Sauce

Do I have to add anything to my applesauce to make it safe for canning?
Nope. Because apples are naturally high in acid, you don’t have to add a thing to it to make it safe for boiling water bath canning. What’s more, apples also have a goodly amount of sugar, so they keep well once canned.

Can I add things to my applesauce?
Yes! You can add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, citrus zest, citrus juice, sugar, honey, or maple syrup (though use maple syrup in conservative amounts. It is lower in acid than other sweeteners and if added in large quantities, can impact the finished acidity of the applesauce.

How long do I process applesauce in a boiling water bath canner? 
If you live under 1,000 feet in elevation, you process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes. If you live above 1,000 feet, your processing time adjustments can be found here. Times and pressure amounts for processing a pressure canner can be found here, though it is not necessary for safety and can often lead to product loss.


I just took my jars of applesauce out of the canner and they are leaking! What did I do wrong?
First of all, know that applesauce almost always siphons like that. It’s hard to prevent it entirely, but you can do a couple of things to help minimize it.

The first is to minimize the amount of air you work into the apples during the saucing process. Apples pushed through a food mill or tomato press can take on more air than those mashed with a potato masher. The air isn’t the end of the world, but it will expand during the processing, which will then force some sauce out of the jar.

The second thing to do is to let the jars cool gradually once the processing time is up. The worst siphoning typically happens in the moments just after you pull the jars out of the canner, when they’re still really hot. Instead, let the jars sit in the canning pot for 10-15 minutes after the canning process is done. Once your timer goes off, you slide the pot off the burner and remove the lid. Let the jars cool slowly in the pot. After the 10-15 minutes are up, pull the jars out. They may start to siphon some, but it will (hopefully) be less than you’ve experienced in the past.

apples for pie filling

If my jars siphon, but the lids eventually seal, is my sauce still safe? 
Yes! No matter how much they leak, if the seals are nice and tight, they are still safely shelf stable.

The surface of my applesauce has turned brown! Is it still safe? 
It is! That is normal oxidation. You can either scrape off the brown layer or just stir it into the rest of he sauce.

If there is mold on the outside of my applesauce jars, is it still safe? 
Yes! Sometimes you end up with a little bit of residual applesauce on the outside of the jars because of the siphoning I mentioned up above. It’s that applesauce residue that is molding. As long as the seal is still good and firm, the sauce inside the jar is perfectly safe.

There are some air bubbles in my finished, sealed jar of sauce. Is it still safe? 
As long as those air bubbles aren’t moving around, they are fine. You can read more about air bubbles in finished products in this post.

If you have an applesauce question that you don’t see here, please make sure to leave a comment and I’ll update this post.

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241 thoughts on "Canning 101: An Applesauce FAQ"

  • Very timely. I’m am overdue to make apple sauce. My apples want me to do it. My kids want me to do it because all I have left is some apple-quince from last year that was really tart—good for cooking, but even my kids who are used to no sugar added sauce don’t like this one.

    Also, good to know about the maple. I made a crab apple sauce with maple for a sweetener. I don’t use a ton, but hadn’t consider it as a low acid addition.

    1. I have been making applesauce evert fall for over 40 years (Cortlands are our favorites). Shortly after the invention of the microwave I realized I no longer had to peel or cook apples on the stovetop. Core, cut into chunks, put in large pyrex type bowl, cover with pyrex pie plate and microwave till soft. I cook a large bowl about 17 minutes. My daughter in law has a convection type microwave and hers takes less time. Experiment to find right time. Then put through food mill or better yet a good juicer/grinder.

  • I made applesauce for the first time last weekend. I wish I had sooner; I finally took the apples the neighbors’ tree was dropping into the alley and were left to rot, and did something useful with them.

    1. Great job being so resourceful! Today was my first day, too! I’ve canned other things but not applesauce. It was super easy and turned out great. What took me so long? 🙂

  • All very good to know.

    I’m about to make my first attempt at apple butter. I’ll assume the same applies as applesauce.

  • I use my slow-cooker to make applesauce. I peel, core and slice my apples into quarters or eighths, then pile them into my crock-pot. When it’s full I let it cook on high for 4 hours or so. One quick stir and it’s chunky applesauce – just the way I like it. I prefer this method because it doesn’t require a lot of work from me, and I get to enjoy the scent of apples cooking all day. Sometimes I add the spices at the end, and other times I sprinkle them on top at the beginning.

    1. Yep. Pears work in much the same way as apples. It’s just not as common a sauce, so I didn’t specifically reference it in this post.

  • I love apple season and usually stock my pantry with a variety of different apple offerings. This was the first year I did applesauce and I enjoyed it immensely. The smell during saucing just cannot be beat!
    I know you are located around the Philadelphia area and I was wondering if you know of any preservation society’s or canning clubs in the PA/NJ area? I live on the NJ Shore and have always been inspired hearing about the preservation society’s in cities like Portland OR and such. Curious if there is anything like that in our neck of the woods?

  • In some of my past batches, I’ve noticed a watery separation at the bottom of the jar. I assume I’ve boiled the apples in too much water that never cooked off? I use the tomato puree method, often making 5 batches of quarts at a time, so I’ve got an assembly line of applesauce-making in my kitchen. It usually means I’m not paying attention to how long each batch cooks, but rather I get the apples into the puree machine just as soon as it’s available, when I’m not too busy at the stove tending to the processing of the sauce.

    Additional comment regarding the leaking and mold on the outside of the jars — I usually wash/wipe my jars off afterwards, and I’ve not had a mold problem. It’s an extra step, but necessary, as I store them in the damp cellar of a very old farmhouse.

    Last comment, regarding crabapples — these can be mixed in with regular apples to make a fabulous sauce that doesn’t have too much kick. I also will return my applesauce “waste” from the puree-machine to a boiling water pot, added in with freshly-fallen crabapples and the apple cores from when quartering them prior to making the sauce… then boil these down, toss it all into a jelly bag, then let it hang overnight. The next day I make a crabapple/apple jelly that really tastes great!! No extra pectin needed, only some lemon juice and I add some apple pie spices — a great use of what otherwise would have been thrown in the compost pile or to the chickens 🙂

  • Sometimes I will also add some peeled, diced up pear in cooking with my apples. ( I may use a variety of different apples for my sauce.)
    For red applesauce just toss in a few of the red hot candies.
    I make all my applesauce by using my crockpot. While that’s cooking in the crockpot I can be doing other things.

  • Granny Smith Apples. Seriously. Yes, you have to add WAY more sugar than you would with sweeter apples, but that tart bite still comes through and they make BY FAR the best applesauce I’ve ever had.

  • When I make applesauce, I leave the peels on, then leave the cooked apples in a chinois over a big bowl to drain for a while before mashing them through the chinois. I save the lovely juice that drains off and use it to make apple jelly (no pectin needed, due to the natural pectin in the apples and peels, and the color is deep and gorgeous). And because the apple sauce has drained, it has a nice, thick consistency, which is great if I want to cook it down to make apple butter.

  • I don’t core my apples and I haven’t noticed any seeds in my finished product. I don’t have a mill; I have a chinoise. I cut my unpeeled apples into 8ths so they fit better in my pressure canner. I fill it to the maximum line and add 1/4 cup water. I then put the 15 pound weight on and place it over high heat until the lock pops up. Turn off the flame and let it rest; usually about an hour. When I open the lid, the apples are soft to the breaking point and surrounded by fluid. It’s not hard to push them through the sieve. I really like this method: it’s easy, uses less gas than cooking them in a conventional pot and there is no danger of scorching. It does result in a darker product which I suppose could be off putting to some.

  • I do need to clarify something: I don’t core the apples at all but I do remove the stems and the cut away a small part of the blossom end. Those little bits will pass through the holes of the chinois.

  • I want to put in a good word for Stayman apples for making applesauce. I don’t think they are commonly mentioned, but I used them one year at the recommendation of the person at an orchard and they made great applesauce.

    I like to make pearsauce also to change things up sometimes.

  • I don’t see any headspace in the jar you photographed. How much did you start out with?. And how long did you process your jars in the water bath? Would more headspace cut back on the probability of siphoning?

    Really, what a helpful and encouraging entry! I do applesauce about once a month. It’s not all that hard to make it fresh but I wouldn’t mind one bit canning some so I could open the occasional jar instead of starting fresh each time.

    1. PS Coring is so easy with a melon baller and there’s lots less waste.

      I take out the seeds & cases from each half (some apples will need a large melon baller and for others a small one will do) and make small notches at the stem and blossom ends.

    2. I left 1/2 inch headspace (which is what the NCHFP calls for). I’ve tried leaving more headspace and the sauce still siphons some.

  • I’ve never had a jar of applesauce siphon, but I too have had the watery separation issue. I think I read that it meant I cooked the apples too long or too hot?

    Another add in that is lovely is a plum or two. It adds a rosey color & a can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it flavor that my kids loved.

  • So far I haven’t had siphon issues, but I did notice condensation on the inside of my cranberry applesauce jars after processing–do I need to worry? They all sealed properly.

  • I just pulled out my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and it says lemon juice is not optional to assure the acidity is at a safe level. They recommend 4 tbsp for 12 lbs of apples. I’m just wondering why your recommendation is different?

      1. Can I ask another question? I cooked my applesauce with some cinnamon sticks and I got them all jarred up and in the canner before I realized I only fished one cinnamon stick out, so the other one is in one of the jars. I can’t find any information anywhere about canning whole cinnamon sticks, so I was wondering if this was something I needed to worry about, like will the cinnamon stick become a low acid pocket of danger? I’ve inspected all the jars and can’t tell which one it’s in, so I can’t just stick that one in the fridge, unfortunately. I did end up adding extra lemon juice to my sauce to balance the flavor anyway, so it should be pretty acidic overall, if that matters.

  • I saved the cooking water from the sauce a few years ago, added the cores back in, cooked a little longer, and made apple jelly from that. But I found that we never wanted to use apple jelly as a spread. So this time, I think I will just preserve it as a juice and use it to cook pork and onions in the crockpot. Anyway, this was great because I haven’t done it in a few years, and I am about to buy 4 bushels of fuji’s to sauce.

  • I just made my third batch of applesauce a few days ago. Everything sealed and looks great, but I cooked the apples with skins, seeds, etc., and used a food mill to grind the sauce and now there are some little apple pieces mixed in with the sauce (like skin and maybe some blossom parts). I don’t care for the way this looks – can the sauce be restrained and recanned? Thanks!

    1. Yes. You just open the jars, strain out the bits, and can it up again like you did the first time (make sure to use brand new lids).

  • Newbie question. This past fall I canned for the first time. I made quarts of apple sauce. I boiled the sauce after it was cooked and mashed, added it to boiled jars and then watter canned them. I also did dliced apples in a sugar sauce. I followed the directions. I don’t remember though if I boiled the jars for 10 or 15 minutes. Every jar sealed. The apple sauce moves freely in the jar.

    Are they safe to eat? Or should I toss them and the several hours I put in, out? I’ve been to scared to open any of them for months. They all look fine, but botulism scares me.


    1. Apples are high in acid. Botulism can’t grow in high acid environments. As long as the seals on the jars look good, the jars are safe.

  • I made so apple butter 4 months ago. I wanted to make sure they were okay for a few months. I pulled them out and over half of them have a light spot on the bottom. Is that mold?

  • Is there any nutritional value left in the applesauce after it has boiled in the canner for 15-20 minutes. I also noticed that my last batch which started out a beautiful pink (from the skins) was quite pale after the canning process.
    Would very much appreciate your thoughts. Thanks..

  • What causes mold on top of the applesauce? I canned some about two weeks ago and now some have mold on them.

  • Why do I need to process my apple sauce. I have boiled it and put it into sterilized hot jars and they are sealing so why do I need to process? Thank you.

    1. The moment you remove the jars from the canner and expose them to the conditions in your home, they aren’t sterile anymore. By putting the hot applesauce into hot jars and then putting them back in the canner, the interior of the jars are sterilized and remain so until you open the jars. Unprocessed applesauce goes bad at a much higher rate.

  • My applesauce had a small black patch on the top of the applesauce and jar . I don’t think it was mold. The jar was sealed and it smells fine.

    1. It could have been some discoloration that was a reaction between the acid in the fruit and the material in the lid. If you feel comfortable eating it, then do it!

  • I made a mistake and processed my applesauce for 2 hours instead of 20 minutes!! (senior moment)
    Will it still be good? Or, do I need to throw it all away?

  • Hey Marisa!

    I forgot to remove the large air bubbles and my quart jars of pressure canned applesauce have big bubbles, maybe 1/2 inch. Is this ok?

  • I canned applesauce for the first time yesterday. I decided to pressure can it and did so for 8 minutes. I’m at 7000 ft so I used 15lbs pressure. What went into the canner were jars of lovely yellow applesauce, but what came out were jars of pink applesauce. It’s not a discoloration at the top, it’s throughout. I cooked my apples with the peels on, cores removed and then ran it through a strainer to remove the peels. The only ingredients going into the jars were apples and sugar. Any idea why it turned pink? All of the jars sealed.

  • I made a few quarts of applesauce in my crock pot and then I’ve kept it in the fridge for a few weeks and now there is mold on the top when I am attempting to can it. Throw it out or scrape it off and still can? Thanks so much!

      1. but Natalie wrote that she had it in the fridge as did i i have a tiny dot of mold on one of my jars, can i scoop that out and reboil the applesauce, they have been kept in the fridge the whole time

        1. The process as I described for Natalie had nothing to do with how the applesauce was stored and everything to do with safe canning methods. If you want to scrape off the mold, reboil your sauce, and then can it, you can. I was just trying to communicate that she couldn’t take the jars and move them directly from the fridge to a canning pot.

  • I made applesauce last week and put the hot applesauce into the hot jars and then put on a hot lid and they all sealed. I did not process in a water bath. Are they ok?

    1. It’s not the recommended way to seal your jars. Only time will tell if they are okay or not. They may spoil. However, apple sauce is high in acid, so if they do spoil, you’ll see it or smell it.

  • I made my first batch of applesauce over three weeks ago, placed into mason jars, and refrigerated. I plan to add some pretty twine and attach a couple cinnamon sticks and give them as Christmas gifts.

    I have not yet sealed/canned the jars and I am wondering if it is still safe to do so? Not sure if it’s ok to cook, refrigerate, boil to seal the lid and then refrigerate again.

    Also, assuming it is safe to can my jars after 3+ weeks, how should they be stored after canning? Back in the refrigerator or are they now safe for the cupboard?

    Thanks so much!! ???

    1. I would like to add that after I made the applesauce and immediately placed into mason jars, I did leave the filled jars out at room temperature without the lids until the applesauce cooled, and then put the lids on and refrigerated them.

    2. You cannot can your applesauce at this point as it is. You could empty the jars out into a pot, reheat the sauce, refill the jars and process the sauce. You can’t just plunk the jars into a canning pot as they are. However, reheated applesauce has a tendency to expand in the jars, so canning it at this point is going to be a messy proposition.

      If you do open up the jars, heat the sauce, refill the jars, and process, the sealed jars would then be safe for pantry storage. Any unsealed jars would need to be refrigerated.

  • I made apple jelly from fresh apples a little while ago. I boiled the apples, strained the juice, even squeezed the pulp, and the apple jelly was freakin’ amazing… but then I had the remains of 6lbs of apples, sans juice. I decided to make an attempt at applesauce. I added plain water to the apples in the pot, a very small amount of sugar, some cinnamon, and boiled the bejeezus out of it, mashing it in the pot with a potato masher. I then poured the applesauce into prepared jars and processed them in a water bath for 20 minutes. Because of the air bubbles (I’ve read the link, now, so I’m more comfortable) I placed them in the refrigerator for storage because I’m a little paranoid. Now, the applesauce tastes great. The seals are solid. But, because the apple pulp was used after the apples had been drained of juice, do I need to be concerned with the acid level of the apples? Not sure how coherent that question is, but I hope you understand my inquiry!

  • Haven’t canned applesauce in three years. I knew you’d refresh my memory- thanks for spelling it out so clearly!

  • I canned applesauce last night by just putting hot apple sauce in hot jars with hot lids. They have sealed but now I’m worried about it spoiling. Can I still put them in a water bath now or is it too late?? I used crab apples and a little sugar, nothing else. Thanks

    1. You’d need to open up the jars, reheat the applesauce, apply new lids, and process according to the directions. You can’t put the cold, imperfectly sealed jars in the canner and process them at this point.

  • I have a question I never see-
    I made apple sauce 5 days ago. It’s been in the fridge. Can I still can it now?

    1. If you bring it back up to a boil, you can. Just know that it’s going to siphon a lot, because when you heat, cool, and then heat apple products, you break open the fiber in the fruit and it expands.

  • Does canned applesauce have to be kept in the fridge?
    Also how long does it stay good for unopened?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Nothing that you’ve canned according to proper procedures needs to be kept in the fridge. That’s the whole point of canning, that you’re making food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until you break the seal on the jar.

      It keeps well on the shelf for at least a couple of years.

  • Free apples are even better no matter what variety they might be. I’ve driven around the older neighborhoods of my city and look for trees that appear to have ripe apples and are not being picked. I stop and meet the home residents and ask if they are not picking all the apples if I could pick a couple bushels.

    Some say no, that they will be picking them, others say I can have a few and there are some who tell me they would be happy that someone would pick them so to keep the ground cleaner and not attract so many bees. I’ve even had one tell me to pick the tree clean.

    Remember to thank them with a finished jar, pie or something else. The one who wanted all apples to go changed their minds after they saw how many nice apples were disappearing, but I did also tell them that I only used a small amount of the apples and the rest were donated to various food pantries in the city.

  • My daughter in law and I made applesauce today. Just small green apples we had on a tree in the yard. Don’t know what kind. The applesauce is green. We pealed and cored the apples. Seasoned with sugar and cinnamon. It looks like Salsa Verde. Help!

  • I just got done water bath canning homemade applesauce this morning .My jars appear sealed but I did not hear a ping. I measured half inch headspace when filling my jars and now the product is up to the sealed lid .I picked it up by the sealed lid and it stayed tight.Is it okay even though I didn’t hear the ping? Also, any ideas why products swell so high when I started with the correct head space?

    1. It doesn’t matter if you hear a ping or not, as long as the jars are sealed. Applesauce often expands during the canning process, which is why your headspace is gone.

  • I am making apple sauce and I noticed a white foam is appearing mixed with my apple sauce when I put it through my mill. What is this white foam and how can I remove it?

  • I am a first time canner. I peeled, cored & sliced my apples. I then boiled them till soft put them in my vitamix to process smooth, then added sugar & honey then reboiled again. At this time the applesauce was a nice yellow. After I pressure cooked it it turned dark pink. Is this normal especially when I peeled them first?

  • Hi – how many lbs. of apples equate to how many pints/quarts of applesauce? I looked at one of your recipes that used 4 lbs. of apples but it didn’t say how many jars it made. Want to make sure I don’t over or under do it!

    1. It’s going to depend on how much water content is in the apples and how long you cook them. Typically you’ll get about a pint per pound of fruit, but it’s an imperfect formula.

  • Quick question, I have cooked all my apples but there are too many for me to can tonight, and now the next couple of days I’m busy. How long is the apple sauce good on the fridge for before I have to can them? is it ok to can them as couple days after I have cooked the sauce?

    1. It’s not ideal to cook the sauce, cool it, reheat it, and then can it, because once in the jars, it is going to expand. You CAN can it after it’s been in the fridge for up to a week, but you’re going to have some product siphoning as a result.

  • Do anyone have insight if following the canning process, whether Apple Butter and Pumpkin Apple Butter would work? Has anyone tried?

  • I filled my jars w my applesauce but then had an emergency and came back my applesauce had cooled in the jars and I haven’t put them in the canner yet. What should I do?

  • As I was cooking my apple sauce, it tasted very good nice and sweet I added nothing just used Apple’s. I used a pressure cooker once it was done I tried a jar two days later and the applesauce for sour and did not taste good. in the pressure cooker I added 2 tablespoons of vinegar which was suggested. Could that of gotten into my applesauce if the lids were not tight enough?

    1. I’m a little confused about what you did here. Are you saying that you pressure canned your applesauce? First, applesauce is a high acid food, so you don’t need to pressure can it. There’s really no way the vinegar in the water could have gotten into the sauce. I really don’t know why your sauce changed flavor so radically.

  • In the back of my pantry, I just discovered 4 half pint jars of my home canned applesauce from December 2012. The tops are still securely sealed. Is it still safe to eat?

    1. If the color hasn’t changed dramatically, open up a jar. If there’s no funk growing on the surface and it smells generally like applesauce, I bet it’s fine.

    1. You really don’t need to pressure can applesauce. Its shelf life won’t be considerably longer than applesauce processed in a boiling water bath canner. That shelf life is a couple of years.

    1. You can make pear sauce the very same way. Pears are often a bit lower in acid than apples, though. So I recommend adding a bit of lemon juice for safety and to retain color.

  • I made a large batch of apple sauce 12 days ago. I intended to finish eating the last of it today but there are two small reddish brown spots. Are these mold? Can I scoop them out and eat the rest?

    1. Mold isn’t typically reddish brown. It could be some oxidation rather than mold. However, I can’t make the call for you. You need to use your own best judgment.

  • I have several jars of canned apple sauce on my shelf, I’m not sure how old they are. The sauce is now brown. If it still smells ok is it safe to use?

  • I typically make applesauce in the slow cooker and then freeze it. I add lemon juice and cinnamon but no sugar. Is it safe to water bath can applesauce prepared in a slow cooker? Or does it have to be done on the stovetope?

    1. HELP!;) I have an Apple Tree! Please let me know how you
      Used the slow cooker to cook the apples.
      Your recipe and process would be greatly
      Appreciated . I have never canned so I
      Am anxious to learn. Freezing would be
      My choice, but maybe canning (as s
      Nervous newbie) would be better. ???!! I
      Also want to do low sugar Apple pie filling!

      I am also going to try fruit leather!! But that’s
      a whole other discussion ! Lol

      Thank you ,

      1. I have an apple tree too–red delicious 🙂 Crockpot applesauce is my fave because it gets so sweet without any sugar added. I fill my slow cooker as full as I can with thinly sliced apples, 1/3 cup water, the juice of one lemon, and a cinnamon stick or two. Then I just turn it on low for several hours, until the apples are falling-apart soft and very fragrant. It’s not a sensitive process. (If you leave it way too long you’ll just end up with apple butter.) Then I mash or blend it, pack it in freezer bags and freeze. Be advised that your applesauce will be a darker color, closer to a caramel brown rather than yellow like stovetop applesauce. It tastes amazing! I am going to try adding Ball’s Fruit Fresh powder this year to see if it keeps the applesauce yellow, since some people prefer it that way.

  • I’m making applesauce in the crockpot. First time. I’m using a food saver to seal the jars. This might be a silly question, but do I seal the jars when they’re hot or wait until they cool?

      1. just wanted to add a note here – I have a chamber vacuum and they very explicitly stated that you cannot vacuum seal perishable food and leave it out at room temp – creating a vacuum does not substitute for the sterilization that results from canning. If you’re going to freeze your food your sealer is fine.

  • I’ve been canning applesauce in a water bath canner a few times now. This last time, I made 8 pints, I added about two teaspoons of fresh grated ginger to the slow cooker when I put the Apple’s in for several hours of cooking I don’t know if that was a no-no or not.

  • A couple of applesauce questions:
    first, how on earth do you get applesauce to the 212º stated in the BBB (and keep it there while filling the jars) without burning the applesauce, or yourself?! The worst burn I’ve ever had was from applesauce burping out on my arm.
    second, occasionally I have applesauce separate where there is a layer of apple juice at the bottom of the jar, but have no idea why it happens some times and not others.

    1. You don’t need to bring applesauce to a hard boil and even if you did, you certainly don’t keep it there while you’re filling the jars. And that separation occurs when you heat, cool, and then reheat applesauce.

      1. Life with toddlers made this happen with today’s canning project. Is it still safe for the pantry? Should I toss it in the freezer instead? Keep it in the pantry but make sure it is the first that gets eaten? Thanks!

  • Long time listener, first time caller. 😉 I love your blog, Marisa! I get nervous about making even little substitutions that logically should be safe to canning recipes. It is safe to add other high acid fruits to the apples to make flavored sauce (ie cherries or berries), right? I know you can add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, but can you safely add extracts (ie almond or vanilla)? I made some applesauce with tart cherries and 1/4 tsp of almond extract added. It was really good and I want to make more to can but I’m nervous about going off book. Is there anything, aside from low acid ingredients, that can’t be added. TIA

  • We have been making and freezing applesauce for 40 years but found some nice Weck jars and decided to try canning for a new grandchild. Suddenly was worried about no sugar and all the horror stories of stable products for canning so many thanks for your comments about the high acid content and natural sugar. My brain knew that but needed reassurance.

  • New too canning … need some questions answered..

    I canned applesauce for the first time this morning and when I opened
    my water canner some had spewed out into the water. Has this ruined
    all the jars that were in the water canner as well? Also some applesauce
    leaked out. All the jars popped when removed them from the
    canner , but … the applesauce has done some separation as they cool.
    Are the jars compromised? Are they all safe?

    1. Go back and read the section of this blog post entitled, “I just took my jars of applesauce out of the canner and they are leaking! What did I do wrong?” You’ll find that your experience is totally normal. Applesauce separates when you cook the apples, let them cool, and then reheat the sauce. So that’s normal too.

  • I have been canning applesauce for three years. this year my applesauce congealed. it is like jello and wiggles. it still tastes fine. can you tell me why this happened? and is there a way to fix it?

  • I cooked several apples last week and used a colander to make the apples into applesauce. I then placed the applesauce in the refrigerator. Due to some expected issues, I haven’t been able to finish canning my applesauce until today, is the apple sauce still okay after a week in the refrigerator?

    1. I had same situation- in fridge 4 days, I let jars rest an hour then water bath canned. Are they safe to store in pantry now?

      1. You put them in the fridge after you did your water bath? They should be fine, though they never needed to be put in the fridge at all!

  • Do you need to add lemon juice to applesauce made in the slowcooker (no sugar added) for freezing? How long should the applesauce keep in the freezer or refrigerator?

    1. Applesauce needs nothing additional to be made safe. You can add lemon juice if you need to brighten the flavor or want to help prevent the sauce from discoloring, but it’s not necessary. And I find that applesauce keeps a couple weeks in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

  • I just made a big batch of applesauce a couple weeks ago. When I popped the top of the first jar, there was a bit of white mold. What went wrong? We used sanitized jars, heated to boiling before putting in jars and put them in the canner for 15 minutes.

  • We just made applesauce and it seemed like a lot of food siphoned out. We were relieved to hear that if the seals popped, they are safe. However, there is a fair amount of space at the top of the jars. Is it still safe? They aren’t air bubbles but isn’t that air? (We canned in a pressure cooker).

    1. As long as the jars were processed for the proper amount of time and the seals are good, they are safe. The trouble you experienced is probably due to the pressure canner. Applesauce doesn’t need to be pressure canned and the increased amount of heat and pressure that a pressure canner applies caused the siphoning.

  • Do I need to cook the applesauce first, before filling my jars with it and processing it? How long and to what temp.?

  • The Ball book says to cook the applesauce to 212 degrees (boiling) and keep it at that while I fill the jars but my applesauce is boiling at 175 degrees. I’m at an altitude of 4500 ft above sea level. Is that hot enough, as long as it boils?

  • I canned apple pie filling last yr. I used the boiling canning method. Just went into pantry’s to grab a jar and noticed that there is a separation in apples and I’m assuming it’s just the sauce…looks thick gravy in bottom of jar. The seal is good…Is it still safe to use?

  • If a pint jar of applesauce pops before it is put in a water bath, is it necessary to continue the water bath for the 15 or 20 minutes?

  • My jars pinged (sealed) almost immediately after I removed from the pot. Are they still sealed correctly and safe to store on shelf?

  • I add various other fruits to my applesauce before canning in my water bath canner, how does that affect shelf life ? AND, if the seal does not take (I hear a thud when tapping with spoon instead of ping)
    How long will product stay fresh UNOPENED in fridge as I like to bring to family to share. I understand week to 10 days AFTER opening but I am curious about refrigerator shelf life storage. I freeze as much as I can because I know that keeps longest. Thanks

    1. The sound of the lid isn’t an accurate way to determine whether you have a good seal. The best thing to do is to remove the rings and test whether the lid is firmly adhered to the jar. It will probably keep for weeks unopened in the fridge.

      Additionally, adding other varieties of fruits don’t impact the safety or shelf life of your applesauce. It remains the same. Good for about a year+.

  • I canned applesauce in sept 2016, we moved and the jars froze while in storage and have now thawed, are they still safe?

    1. I wouldn’t use them. The applesauce may have expanded as it froze, potentially compromising the seal.

  • Hi, I added 1/4cup of southern comfort to my canned apple sauce just before canning &hot water bath. Did that hurt anything.

    1. It shouldn’t have done any harm. I would make sure to label the jars so that you don’t accidentally feed that applesauce to any kids, though.

  • I’m not sure if this was asked already but do i allow the jars to cool before the bath?

  • I just opened a pint jar of home canned applesauce that was given to me. It seemed to have sealed when it was canned. (I had to break the seal.) The top looks dried out except for one area about the size of a quarter. It looks like it is starting to have mold. Is it safe to eat?

  • I made a batch of applesauce for the first time yesterday (looking forward to trying it) and there was some siphoning. I read that isn’t a problem.

    But – the applesauce seems to have separated from the juice. There’s a layer of juice at the bottom. How can I prevent this in future batches?

    1. That happens when you cook the apples, let it cool and then reheat it. It breaks down the pectin in the fruit. It’s not dangerous or unsafe. Just stir to combine before serving or using. In the future, once you start the applesauce making process, you have to go all the way to the canning process without letting the sauce cool.

      1. Hi Marisa. I am curious about the separation question, because I just canned applesauce yesterday, going through the entire process without letting the sauce cool, and guess what? Separation at the bottom! Any other possibilities?

  • I’ve been canning for several years now and have used only tried and true techniques and recipes from several canning guru books. For some reason this year, the new jars with new seals and new seals for replenishing purposes, seem to not pop as heartily or at all, but slowly concave into the jars in the cooling down process after they’ve been either water bathed or pressure canned. This is happening across the board with different mouthed sized jars, different products being canned. I could have the exact same jars filled with the exact same amount of product, with the exact same headspace (I use a tape measure and measure each filled jar’s headspace prior to putting the seal on) and use the exact same company product seals and 1 jar may pop while the other slowly concaves into the jar. I could do 10 jars at one time and 50% will pop and the other 50% will slowly concave into the jar. I have always “warmed” the seals prior to putting them on the jar. I always ensure my jar rims are completely clean of any food prior to putting on the seal. So far I have canned over 150 jars of varying sizes and food products and there seems to be no rhyme or reason why this is happening with this year’s supply of seals. In prior years, the seals would have a visually definitive concaved appearance, giving one the assurance the product is sealed. These new seals don’t have that defined concave appearance, but show a subtle “dip” in the middle of the seal. I’m at the same altitude, I boil the recommended amount of time, I “rest” the jars in the water bath for 5-10 minutes prior to taking them out, etc. Any idea as to why this year’s seals are doing this? Kinda makes me feel whether they are properly sealing and concerned about the end product. Thanks for your patience. One of my canning friends (she’s been canning for more years than me), is saying the same thing. Perhaps a call to the 3 companies’ seal products I use should be done. Thanks for reading.

    1. I believe that the folks at Ball increased the thickness of the lids ever so slightly, which could account for the difference. Know that Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Bernardin are all brands owned by the same company, so while they have different names, the lids are going to be identical (which is why you’re experiencing it across the board). Beyond the minor increase in thickness, I can’t explain why this is happening to you. Have you tried leaving the jars in the canner with the heat and lid off for 5-10 minutes after the processing time is up? That slow cooling period can help encourage a more immediate seal when the jars are removed from the canner. Good luck with it!

  • Is there anything I can do to make the applesauce stay yellow instead of brown when canning, it’s yellow when I cook it but turns brown after canning?

  • Hi, I canned applesauce today for the first time. I live at altitude (5280 ft), but just realized I forgot to adjust my processing time (only did 15 minutes for point jars). Should I reprocess tomorrow or simply plan to use these jars in the next few months? Thanks!

    1. I would eat those jars first rather than recan them (as it would negatively impact the finished quality). The worst that could happen with applesauce is that it could mold. You will see it immediately upon opening the jar. If you do, don’t eat that jar.

  • I realized I did not bring my applesauce back up to a boil before water bath canning, The sauce was warm, but not hot so I processed an additional 5 minutes. Is it safe to eat or should I toss them or possibly reopen and reprocess.

  • I have canned applesauce several times now. I made the sauce yesterday, put it all into jars as soon as it was made while still hot. Started water bathing them today and I have a bunch that are fermented! My apple pie filling is fine, even the cider I made from the water I cooked the apples in is fine but the applesauce has about half of them fermented. What caused this?

    1. You can’t make the sauce, put it in jars, and then can it the next day. You can need to water bath the jars as soon as they are filled with hot sauce. Of course your sauce fermented.

  • There are tiny white spots on the top of my bottled applesauce. The bottle was definitely sealed. Is the applesauce safe to eat?

    1. That is not something I’ve ever run into before, so I’m uncertain how to advise you. The general rule of thumb is that if you are in doubt about the safety of your food, it’s best to throw it out.

  • I would like to make bourbon vanilla applesauce. Do you have any info concerning how much bourbon and vanilla can be added safely per pound of apples ?

  • Can I reclaim the applesauce on the bottom of my pressure canned that siphoned out of my jars. Will never use a pressure canner again for applesauce. What a mess.

    1. You would not want to try and recapture that siphoned applesauce. And as a high acid food, there’s no reason to pressure can applesauce. The boiling water bath process is plenty.

  • Hello. I canned some applesauce back in September, and I just opened a jar (December) the jar was sealed perfectly but at the top of the apple sauce was a blob of something pink. Anyone know what it is? What caused it? And if it’s safe?

    1. Does it look like it’s oxidized applesauce? Or did it look like mold? I’m unsure what would make applesauce pink if it didn’t turn that color during cooking.

  • I was just wondering if applesauce can be canned using 8 oz jars (250ml). We do not go through a lot of applesauce.
    If it can be done what would the headspace and cooking time be?

    1. I think it tastes just as good, but admittedly, I don’t often freeze applesauce so my comparative faculties might not be perfect.

  • Hi,
    A friend of mine recently went to the Amish country and brought back a jar of applesauce for me. The mason jar lid is intact, but there is no ring. It came that way. Is it safe to eat the applesauce?

  • I am leaving my cooked apple sauce on the counter for 2 days before water bath canning it.
    (didn’t plan well)
    If I reheat the sauce and simmer or boil for 5 min, before adding it to the cleaned jars to then water process will it be safe ?

    1. As long as the applesauce doesn’t have any visible mold (which is a distinct possibility after 2 days), then you should probably be okay. However, letting it sit out that long is really not advised and this batch could spoil after that much time at room temperature.

  • I froze my applesauce the day I made it then thawed it out 2 days later. Can it still be canned if I reboil it?

  • I want to pressure can my applesauce. Can I raw pack the applesauce since it will cook during he canning process?

    1. There is no reason to pressure can applesauce. It’s too much heat and pressure and will result in a poor finished product.

  • I made applesauce and processed it in a water bath.the water came to a boil so I turned it down and it continued at a low boil , is this ok or should I open the Jars and redo it at the rolling boil. The jars sealed so would this be necessary?

  • I only boiled my applesauce jars for ten minutes, not fifteen as recommended. They sealed but now I am concerned about the safety of my applesauce. Can I reboil them in the sealed jars?

    1. They should be okay. Applesauce is a high acid preserve, so the very worst that can happen is that the jars will start to get moldy. I’d mark that batch and make sure to use it first.