Homemade Chunky Applesauce

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I am a HUGE fan of apples and I love to eat them every which way from Sunday. Raw, sliced on a ham sandwich, cooked alongside pork or chicken, on top of a fall salad, in cakes and cookies and as good old-fashioned applesauce. Apples are such a delicious and versatile fruit, the possibilities for using them up are simply endless. This is my favorite recipe for homemade applesauce because it’s not only scrumptious but it’s SO easy to prepare, it practically makes itself! It’s so easy that even your kids can help you make it!

I love to use a variety of different apples so that I get a more complex and interesting flavor. Some of my favorites are Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Pink Lady , McIntosh, and Lemonade apples. Of course you can use just one variety but don’t be afraid to try out different combinations as well. Traditionally applesauce has a smooth consistency however, I really love to bite into and taste the fresh apples so I like to keep my applesauce chunky. A simple potato masher is perfect for making chunky applesauce as it allows you to control the consistency to your liking. If you prefer a smooth applesauce, simply run the cooked apples through a food mill or blend using an immersion blender or countertop blender.

Last note, feel free to adjust how much sugar you use in this recipe. You can increase, decrease or eliminate it entirely depending on the level of sweetness you prefer. You can also adjust the spices as well. I tend to go light on the ginger because it can be an overpowering, bold flavor but if you prefer to use more, go for it! You can even substitute the ginger for apple pie spice, baking spice or any other warm fall spices that you may have handy. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 12 medium-sized apples, any baking variety such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, McIntosh, etc.
  • 3 tbs apple cider or apple juice
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Instructions

Peel, core and dice the apples into large chunks.

Place the apples, cider, butter, brown sugar and spices into a large pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender.

For a smooth applesauce – Blend using either a food mill, blender or immersion blender to desired consistency.

For a chunky texture – Use a handheld potato masher to mash the apples to desired consistency.

“How-To” Canning – Chunky Cinnamon Apple Pie Jam

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Since the kids were cooperating today and playing very nicely together I decided I would do a little canning since it’s something I have not done in quite a few months. I was planning on a Mango Pineapple Jam however, I was a little short in the mango department so I decided to switch gears and use up all of the Granny Smith apples that I had in the fridge. I know it’s only July but I thought a nice batch of apple jam would be a great thing to “can” now so in a couple of months when the weather changes back to the cool, crisp days of autumn, I’d have this warm and cozy treat on hand and ready to go.

I came across this recipe on the Taste of Home website, it was listed as a “Caramel Apple Jam” . I changed the recipe slightly because when I read that it called for FIVE CUPS of sugar my jaw almost hit the floor. I adjusted the sugar from three cups of granulated sugar to only one cup and from two cups of brown sugar to only one. Granted, two cups of sugar is still a good amount but it is certainly better than five cups! After tasting the jam, I absolutely made the right call in adjusting the sugar. Had I added five cups I think this batch of jam would’ve been sickeningly sweet and ended up in the trash. I also added a 1/4 tsp of apple pie spice in addition to the spices that were called for and I increased the water from 1/2 cup to one cup. I did cut back on the amount of pectin as well, I felt the jam would be way too gelatinous if I used that much.

Because this is such a chunky jam it really is more like an apple pie filling than a traditional jam. If you prefer a smoother jam, you can always run the cooked apples through a food mill to smooth it out before adding the sugar and going forward with the canning. I actually prefer it chunky because I think it lends itself to many other uses. It’s delicious spread on toast or a muffin but it would also be perfect as a topping for vanilla ice cream, pancakes, as a side to pork dishes, and even as a filling in individual hand pies or the Cinnamon Swirl Doughnut Bread that I posted a few weeks ago. I stirred some right into my vanilla yogurt and it was incredible! It’s an extremely versatile jam so the possible uses are virtually limitless. Feel free to experiment using it on other foods both sweet and savory.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups peeled and finely diced Granny Smith apples (about 5-6 apples)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 2 tsp fruit pectin and 2 tsp calcium water (I use Pomona Low Sugar Pectin, 1 oz. Box)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Instructions

Prepare and sterilize five 1/2 pint canning jars. Leave the lids in hot (not boiling) water and the jars in the simmering canning pot. The rims can be left to the side. Click Here For Sterilization Instructions

In a large pot combine the apples, water, butter, and spices. Stir over medium low heat until the apples are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the calcium water and then stir in the pectin. Mix well.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stir in the sugar, and bring to a boil again. Cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

One jar at a time, ladle the hot mixture in leaving a 1/4″ of headspace. Remove any air bubbles, adjust the headspace if needed. Wipe the rim of the jar, center a lid on top, and screw on a band just until it’s fingertip tight. Do NOT over tighten.

Once all of the jars are filled, place them in the canning pot ensuring they are fully submerged and covered in water. Bring the water back to a full boil and process the cans for 10 minutes. Do NOT start timing the processing until the water is at a full and rolling boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and allow them to cool completely, undisturbed, for at least 8-10 hours.

Soon after processing you should hear a “POP” indicating the jar has been properly sealed. Press the top of the lid, it should be tight and sucked into the jar with no give. If after a few hours you can still press up and down on the lid, you will need to process the jam all over again OR place it in the fridge and begin using it right away. Once the jars are completely cooled and properly sealed give the rim a little tightening and store in the pantry for 9-12 months.

**PLEASE NOTE** – The processing time is for elevations under 1,000 feet. For every 1,00 feet of altitude, adjust the processing time by adding an additional minute.

 

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