Put up applesauce for the winter

Apples are new and exciting in September, but you’ll be getting tired of them by February, and there still won’t be any decent fresh fruit available until the end of April. Applesauce is a great way to eat apples when you’re tired of apples. Plus, you can use applesauce instead of oil in all kinds of nut breads and cakes.

So take some rainy afternoon in September or October and cook down a whole bushel of apples into applesauce. Put the applesauce in small tupperwares or plastic bags and freeze it. Then next winter and spring, you’ll have applesauce to eat with your blintzes. Or try applesauce right away with corn pancakes or noodle souffle.

How to make applesauce:

Cut up about twenty apples and cut out the cores and seeds. You can peel them if you like, but we usually don’t. Put the apples in a large stewpot and add enough water to about half cover the apples. Cook over medium heat for about half an hour, or until the apples are soft. Drain off any extra liquid, let the applesauce cool a little so you don’t burn yourself mashing, and mash with a potato masher or an immersion blender.

A lot of people add sugar or cinnamon, but first of all apples are already sweet and there’s no need for that, and second, if you’re going to use some of your applesauce to bake with, you don’t want it to already have a lot of sugar in it.

Canning applesauce

Canning applesauce is a lot easier than you might think. You’ll need a set of canning jars. I like the half-pint size, because you can always open two but a half-used open one goes bad after a while. Put on a big pot of water, with the glass jars inside it, and boil them for ten minutes to sterilize them.

Meanwhile, soak the lids in hot water to soften the rubber seals.

Take the jars out with clean tongs and stand them on a clean dish towel. Use a funnel to fill them with hot applesauce up to 1/4 inch below the rim. Wipe off the rims with a clean paper towel. Put on the lids and the rings (not too tight), and use tongs to put the full jars back into the boiling water for another ten minutes.

After ten minutes, fish them out again, and let them stand on the towel and cool. They should seal up. (You can often hear the pop.) Some may not seal, so eat those first, and save the sealed ones for later.

Vegetarian or vegan

Applesauce is totally vegan, because there’s nothing in it but apples.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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