This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands.
So far this summer, I’ve written four pairs of posts in partnership with my friends at Ball®Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands. In May, it was all about their Mixed Berry Jam and the Jammy Baked Oatmeal I made with it. In June, we focused in on Honey Cinnamon Pears and the Honey Cinnamon Pear Sorbet I turned them into.
For July, the starter recipe was Kosher Dill Pickle Spears (so crisp and tangy!) and the transformation was a batch of Pasta and Kosher Dill Pickle Salad. Last month, I shared their life changing recipe for Roasted Garlic Roma Tomato Sauce and then used it to make a really lovely Summer Vegetable Braise.
This month, they’ve asked me to focus on apples. This is not a hard assignment, as apples are one of my very favorite things to eat and preserve. My starter recipe is Maple Applesauce, which is what I’m going to walk you through today. Make sure to check back tomorrow for the Chocolate Applesauce Muffins I use it in!
To start, gather up 12 pounds of apples. There is no one best variety of apple for making applesauce, but I do find that I like the flavor best when a sauce contains at least two or three varieties of apple. Using a diverse assortment of apples means you’ll end up with a more complex-tasting sauce.
Once you’ve chosen your apples, cut them in quarters and heap them in a large pot. In selecting the pot you use to cook down the apples, know that you’ll want about one quart of capacity for every pound of fruit you’re using. As you can see, 12 pounds of apple quarters fit pretty neatly into my 12 quart stock pot.
Pour a cup of water into the bottom of the stock pot and tuck a cinnamon stick or two in with the apples. You just want enough liquid so that the apples don’t scorch at the start of the cooking process (this means, if a single cup isn’t going to cover the bottom of your pot, use a splash more). Then, you cook. Every apple is going to have a different cooking time, so you just let the apples simmer over medium-low heat until they’re all soft.
In the case of this batch, the green apples I used were tender after just 20 minutes of cooking, but the red apples needed nearly an hour of gentle heat before they softened sufficiently.
Now, you may have noticed that I didn’t peel or core my apples before cooking. That’s because I have a Ball® freshTECH HarvestPro™ Sauce & Salsa Maker. Fitted with the standard screen, this machine makes really quick work of the cooked apples. It easily separates sauce from the less edible bits, and creates a gorgeously uniform texture (just make sure to remove the cinnamon sticks prior to milling the sauce). If you don’t have one of these appliances, you can either use a manual food mill, or you can peel and core prior to cooking, and then break the apples up into a more rustic sauce using a potato masher.
When you’ve gotten the sauce to your desired texture and you’ve returned it to the pot, it’s time to sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. Know that maple syrup is a lower acid sweetener, so it needs to be used carefully in canning. Happily, in this sauce the ratio of high acid apples to the lower acid syrup is such that the sauce remains perfectly safe for canning.
Simmer the sauce down for about ten minutes, to ensure that it’s quite thick and that it’s piping hot when you fill up the jars.
While the apples cook down, prepare a boiling water bath and sufficient jars for the sauce. Once you judge that the sauce is done, remove one jar from the canner. Funnel in some of the applesauce, filling to 1/2 inch headspace. Stir with a wooden or plastic chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles. Wipe the rim, apply a lid and ring, and place the jar back in the canner. Repeat with the remaining jars and sauce.
These jars are processed for 25 minutes at a full rolling boil (remember, if you live at elevation, you need to adjust your processing time accordingly). When the time is up, remove the lid, turn off the heat, and let the jars cool slowly in the canner for 5 minutes. Once that time is up, remove the jars from the canner and let them cool on a folded kitchen towel. Once the jars are entirely cool, check them to ensure that the jars have sealed fully and completely.
The total yield on my batch was 20 cups of product, which is a bit higher than the yield suggested by the recipe (yield variation at work!). I opted to use Pint & Half jars to contain 9 pints of the product (this left me with 6 jars in total), and left that final pint out to use in the muffins (check back for that recipe tomorrow!) and for immediate snacking.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Newell Brands as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.