How to Make Applesauce

This was one of the very first things I learned to preserve. It is easy and delicious, so let’s dive in to how to make applesauce.

Applesauce is one of those things that I’m not always in the mood for, but when I am, I will eat a whole jar in two days.

Two years ago we had bushels and bushels of apples from the trees at our house and extras from a friend’s tree. I put up around 20 quart jars of applesauce.

I had no idea how long it was going to take just me and my husband to eat that much applesauce.

Then the first trimester of pregnancy hit. Food basically felt like a chore. All food that is, except applesauce. I ate all but two quarts of that applesauce in about three months.

God bless you applesauce, and thank you for your service.

What do I need to make Applesauce?

Applesauce is made pretty much the same way, just with different tool options.

Sauce Maker/Food Mill

Basically you will heat up apples until they are soft enough to moosh through some kind of screen that will filter our the seeds, peels, stems, etc.

Maybe you have an older style food mill like this one.


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That will work great! Maybe you just have cheese cloth and a collander. It will take a while, but it is worth a shot!

Perhaps you want to peel and core the apples, then just blend it up. That works too!

If you plan on making applesauce more than once, and you plan to make more than a jar at time, please buy one of these.

weston food mill rough and tumble farmhouse

They are magical little pieces of equipment. This one is a Weston sauce mill/food mill.

Just run apples through the mill and you get a beautiful sauce streaming out one side and all the peels funneled out another. You can even get different screens for them to puree squash, tomatoes, salsa, etc.

Other Supplies

Now that we’ve covered the sauce maker itself, here are the other items you’ll want to have. Turns out the list is largely bowls.

  • Bath Towel – For placing washed apples on
  • Large pot – To boil the apples
  • Bowl #1 – To catch sauce
  • Second Bowl – To catch peels
  • Bowl #3 – To transfer soft apples to the food mill
  • Slotted Spoon – To scoop apples from the pot
  • Food Mill/Sauce Maker of your choice
  • Thick bottomed stock pot or electric roaster/crock pot– To keep the sauce warm for canning
  • Hot water bath canner
  • Sterilized Mason Jars

What Apples are Best for Sauce?

Whatever apples you can find that are free or cheap.

apples formaking sauce rough and tumble farmhouse

Most apples will make a perfectly fine sauce. Some will make a tastier sauce than others. I find that a good mishmash of apple varieties will make the best tasting sauce. Same goes for ciders or apple pies, mixed flavors of tart and sweet will give the best results.

If you are bound and determined to use only varieties that are recommended for sauce, Good House Keeping and the Spruce Eats suggest these.

  • Fuji
  • Cispin
  • Cortland
  • Golden Delicious
  • Braeburn
  • Rome

Take a bite of an apple from the tree. Taste good? Great. It’ll make good sauce. Crab apples especially can make AMAZING sauce with gorgeous pink colors.

Where to find apples for making sauce?

My best advice is ask around. You probably know at least one person with an apple tree. Chances are good they get more apples than they can use.

Is there a house you drive by that is always laden with apples in the fall? Stop by and say hello. Ask if they’d be interested in letting you pick apples in exchange for a few jars of delicious sauce.

Facebook or Craiglist is another place to look. Put the word out again that you are looking for apples to make sauce and plan to exchange apples for jars.

Farmers markets are a great option, as well as local apple orchards or Corn Maze type places. I’ve found that the most expensive option will usually be an orchard, then farmer’s market, then a neighbor.

crab apples rough and tumble farmhouse

How to Make Apple Sauce

Before we start making the sauce, prepare your kitchen. Get all the supplies set out, the hot water bath heating up, simmering water warming, and an apron for you. Tie up long hair too. Sauce is a sticky, wet business.

Wash and Sort Apples

Give all the apples a good rinse. Sort through any that are spoiled or too funky to trim away the funk.

Place a bath towel on the counter to place the wet apples on. A kitchen towel won’t cut it.

Slice and Simmer

Cut the apples into halves or fourths. Larger apples slice into fourths. Small crab type sizes should be sliced in half.

Place as many apples a will fit in the simmering water. It only takes a few minutes for the apples to soften. Poke them with a knife or try smooshing them against the side of the pot. They should give easily.

simmering apples rough and tumble farmhouse

Scoop and Moosh

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the simmered apples into a bowl. Add more sliced apples to the simmer pot.

Take the bowl to the food mill and dump them in the top. Make sure you have a bowl under the peel funnel and under the sauce tray. Turn the crank and away you go!

If your counter spaces allows for it you could potentially have the food mill close enough to the simmering apples that you could scoop them directly into it. With all the bowls and such I find that I have to keep the mill on a separate counter.

applesauce rough and tumble farmhouse

Keep Warm and Process

Once your sauce catching bowl is full, transfer the sauce to another pot on the stove or into a crock pot to keep it warm.

Once you have enough sauce to fill a batch of jars, you can add it to pint or quart jars. Process in the hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Apple Sauce Recipes

Confession: I don’t have any.

I prefer to preserve my apple sauce plain. I don’t like extra sweeteners or flavors aside from the apple. If I do decide I want a little cinnamon flavor I can mix that in when I eat it.

If you want to add a little something to your sauce here’s what I’d do. Experiment by adding sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and other spices to the sauce a little at a time. Taste it, and adjust as you want.

Ball’s Blue Book recommends adding 1/4 cup of sugar per pound of apples. From there, add in a few teaspoons at a time of spices, tasting after each one. Be sure to add them only 5 minutes or so before you plan to can it for best results.

You can also make a chunkier applesauce if you want, by crushing some of the apples, set them aside, then stir them in to the finished sauce.

How many apples do I need to make sauce?

I’d say you want at least five pounds of apples to make it worth your while. I processed around 35 pounds of apples and in the end got 15 pints (around 7 quarts) of sauce.

Looking for another recipe to enjoy this season? Check out my caffeine free drinks for fall!

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how to make applesauce rough and tumble farmhouse

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