Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Preservation 101: Applesauce & Apple Butter


Apples are prolific right now but won't be in season in just a few short months. One of my favorite fall projects is making applesauce and apple butter. We enjoy the results of the preserving throughout the winter. I make an unsweetened applesauce and a sweetened apple butter.  This is a project that I usually do with my mom and or sisters.

Start with several bushels of apples - we use seconds which are less expensive and work very well. Seconds are the apples that may be bruised, funny looking, or a different shape; you can ask your local orchard if they have some available for purchase.

Wash and quarter the apples and put them in a large pot (8-10 quart) with a little bit of apple juice concentrate (about 1/2 c. undiluted) in place of sugar. Cook until the apples are softened and then pour them into a Victorio Strainer (if you do not have access to one of these, you would want to peel and core your apples before cooking them down and then you could mash them by hand or use a food mill).

The beautiful result - bowls and bowls of applesauce ready to be canned or frozen. We sweeten it with a little apple juice concentrate but no sugar.

This water bath canner holds 11 - 1/2 pints, 9 - pints, or 7 - quarts.

The apple butter bakes in the oven for several hours before being canned. We do use brown sugar in this delicious treat!

I love hearing the pop of the jars sealing and to see the rows of completed jars. But it works to freeze them as well - there are now plastic freezer jars made specifically for preserving or you could use freezer bags. If you do use jars, you must be careful to leave enough room for expansion when they freeze.


This makes about 1 qt. of apple butter - we adjust the recipe to decrease sweetness but it's great with full sugar, too!

32 oz. applesauce
2 c. brown sugar (can do 1/2)
1/2 c. vinegar (if 1/2 sugar, 1/2 of this)
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine ingredients in 2 qt. casserole and bake uncovered at 350 for 2 1/2 hours or until mixture is thick and almost transparent/translucent.
I use a variety of apple including Jonathans, Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, Fuji, and Winesap. The different batches are various colors based on the random mix of apples.


  1. We are scheduled to start our apple butter on October 31st...hope it is as fun as last year!

  2. I think this might be the year I learn to can. I have a 1/2 a peck of apples waiting to be turned into yummy things! Have eithero of you tried making fruit leather? I want to give that a try with some of them...

  3. I've been using a Steam Canner for years, my Father-in-law did the canning for his family - and he used his for longer than my adult years. I don't loose jars to breakage (they still need to be hot, but not as crucial with a hot water bath), and I'm only heating up at most 2 inches of water instead of a whole canner full (it's significantly shorter than trying to get your water to boil again in a water bath). Otherwise the timing is the same - 20 minutes for applesauce and 10 minutes for apple butter. It holds the same amount of jars also.

    I'll try your apple butter recipe. Mine requires a gallon of applesauce and bakes 4 hours in the oven.

    We used a combination of equal amounts of Galas, Jonathans and Courtlands for ours this year and its wonderful.