The Cottage Smallholder

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Two easy apple sauce recipes


Photo: Homemade apple sauce

Photo: Homemade apple sauce

Apple sauce is so easy to make and it’s versatile too. Fabulous with pork, duck or goose it can also be added to cakes, pastries, used in crumbles and as a topping for cereals or yoghurt. Here are two apple sauce recipes. One making apple sauce from scratch and the other using leftover apple must from making jelly. Way back I would have chucked the apple must but now we are trying to use everything that comes our way and it’s fun.

There’s a word of warning though if you are an apple sauce making virgin. Having made your own apple sauce just once, I can almost guarantee that you will never buy commercially produced apple sauce again. Homemade apple sauce is packed with flavour and vrrrummm. You can use eating apples but I recommend finding cooking apples for apple sauce as they have a greater depth of flavour – if you live in the UK, Bramley’s are readily available and ideal. Even when you add sugar the taste is much better lots of low and high notes – a concerto rather than a quartet.

I tend to make my apple sauce fairly tart – extra sugar can be added at a later stage if you need a sweeter apple sauce for a pudding or a pie. You can also add other seasonal fruit to your apple sauce – strawberries, raspberries and red currants are as good and often better than traditional balckberries. Think of it as a base that will be on hand until you are next harvesting apples – that’s if you make enough to see you through.

I have got the bottling bug and now store my apple sauce in jars rather than in the freezer. This means that it is readily to hand and I can use the freezer for stuff that I can’t bottle. But apple sauce freezes well if you don’t want to go down the bottling/canning route. My friend Gilbert freezes his in ice cube trays and then tips the cubes into larger bags. When it is needed to accompany meat as a sauce he just grabs a few cubes and they defrost as the meat is roasted.

Making apple sauce from scratch

This is so easy that it would be a great project to do with children. Basically, you just chop up apples – skin, corers and all and simmer them gently in a very small amount of water (just to stop them burning – about 1 cm in the bottom of a heavy bottomed saucepan would be ideal). When the fruit are soft and puffy put them through a food mill or mouli to get rid of the cores, seeds and skins. Return to the saucepan and add lemon juice to keep the colour and sugar to taste. I also add some powdered cinnamon. Allspice, a pinch of powdered cloves or nutmeg would all work well too. Experiment but in pinch sized steps.

If you peel and core the apples you can forget the mouli/sieve stage but I reckon that cooking apples with skins on keeps the goodness that lies just beneath the skins and the apple sauce has a greater depth of flavour.

Making apple sauce from the must left over from making apple jelly

Pass the apple must through a mouli/food mill or a sieve.  1.8 kilos of apples used to make jelly produced 800g of moulied apple must. Heat the apples gently and when simmering add 100g of sugar, the juice of half a medium sized lemon and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and then simmer for about 20 minutes to thicken the sauce. This generated three chunky jars of apple sauce and one little jar to have with supper tonight.

Both types of apple sauce can be bottled:

Pour into hot sterilised jars, leaving a 2cm space at the top of the jar. Put on lids (finger tight) and process in a hot water bath for 20 mins – make sure that you have at least 5cm of water above the jars. Remove the jars with preserving tongs, check the lids are sealed tight. Label when cold and store in a dark dry place. They should keep for at least a year.

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  1. Hi Fiona. I always make my own apple sauce but usually freeze it. However, as an avid cook my freezers are generally full of frozen casseroles and pies etc, so I need more space. I really want to store my sauce in jars but so far have only found recipes that use kilner jars. I want to store it in little twist and click jars but am unsure if they can be processed in a water bath. Would it be possible to use these, processed by the method you have described? It would be so helpful to know before I perish in an avalanche of frozen apple sauce…………………

    I love the site by the way – it is a complete joy for me to find all these recipes and all this good information. Really inspiring. Many thanks for all your hard work in bringing it to the web and restoring dying crafts.

  2. Hi Fiona
    I have just finished making apple chutney with your recipe today. Thank you!!!! Now want to make apple sauce. I put the jars through a 70 degree dishwash thrn put chutney in whilst warm and closed immediately as per your recipe.
    Just wondering what this whole hot bath is about and why needed for sauce and not chutney? Sounds far too laborious for me so have you got any clever ideas for freezing effectively but in bigger batches than ice cubes?
    Thank you. Love your site!

    • Hi Sue, I’m sure Fiona will have a more professional reply than mine but if it helps I have also made sauce in the past and I water bathed my batch – it’s really not that laborious if you have a large deep pan. However there is a real distinct difference between chutney & sauce as the chutney will keep for years in the right conditions as you have ‘preserved’ it with vinegar & sugar….well most chutney recipes use those ingredients as preservatives. Whereas Apple sauce only contains sugar which will sweeten and keep it for a while but it might go off if not used fairly quickly. Mine did keep for about 6 months but I kept one jar as an experiment and it went a horrible colour (no additives etc like shop bought sauce). They suggest water baths to prevent botulism which isn’t necessary for jams and chutneys in this country but I think it is necessary for sauces. Hope this helps a bit but if you Google why water bath sauces UK it will possibly throw up some more helpful info.

  3. gloria

    hello there, first year growing my cherries but thy seem so ripe already early july so do I pick them now or leave them until late july and august ? I was going to cook and freeze mine down to use in pies etc or are they better to use as jams sauces etc or do we just experiment ?

    never bottled before always freeze them down to use in pies or with meats etc so now get some suitable bottles and I will give it a go great as I have an apple tree and do not like the apples so now I can use them and not give them away. so glad I found this site.

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