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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.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Judy

    Great idea! I made apple butter from scratch last year but didn’t think about using the leftover pulp.

    Hi Joy

    I always hot water bath the jars since finding some jars of fruit butter went mouldy.

    Hi Marion

    Thanks for the tip.

    Hi Jo

    I use all sorts of different jars. Sometimes old jam jars with perfect lids (like Sabine below), small 500g kilner jars and small le Parfait jars.

    Bottling times and information are on this site

    Hi Judy

    We have jars like that too in the UK but they are very expensive compared to yours.

    Grape butter sounds delish.

    Hi Barbara

    I didn™t know that cider is apple juice in the USA “ thanks for the tip.

    Hello Sabine

    That™s interesting that you don™t hot water bath apples in Germany. I™m not sure if I have the courage to take the risk!

    Hi Judy

    Love the idea of calvados.

  2. nickwill

    I lost a couple of jars of stewed tomatoes stored in kilner jars this year as they developed mould although other jars are fine, I guess I’ll have to work harder on sterilising. Maybe just sterilising the jars and seals and then pouring the hot stewed tomatoes isn’t enough, not all developed a proper seal 🙁

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Nickwill

      You have to hot water bath tomatoes! It’s essential. The problem is if you dont go down this route the tomatoes might look fine but they could be dangerous to eat.

  3. Barbara,
    Boiling off the alcohol in hard cider when cooking the apples would indeed be a waste. But adding a spoonful to the jar just before filling with apple butter is quite nice. I’ve even splurged and used a spoonful per jar of Calvados. Yummy!

  4. I often make apple sauce from foraged apples, but I never bother with with the water bath (nor does anyone I know in Germany. Just fill the boiling hot sauce into sterilised jars, cover with sterilised lids and leave to cool. I’m still eating sauce I made two years ago, and I haven’t had a spoilt jar yet. (But then we are a lot less ‘health-and-safety conscious on the continent.) I use old jam jars with twist-off lids, which need to be rubber-lined and completely undamaged – preferably with a pop-up bottom as that makes it easier to be sure that you’ve got a seal.

  5. Making apple butter from the pulp sounds like a really good idea. I usually make it in the microwave, which works well for me. Judy, using cider rather than water to cook the apples would add taste, but what the US calls cider is apple juice in the UK–here, cider is alcoholic, and would be wasted in apple jelly or butter!

  6. Jo, here in the USA I use jars with 2 piece metal lid – a flat cover with rubber on inside at the edge and a metal ring that screws lid to jar. Boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

    And let me again suggest using apple cider rather than water to cook the apples. Really an improvement.

    I also use the pulp left from making grape jelly to make grape butter. Same technique, using half as much sugar (by volume) as pulp. Cook gently until spoon dragged through mass leaves a slowly closing track on bottom of pan.

  7. So are these jars just jam jars or are they the proper Kilner jar types with metal disc or rubber ring…? And is it 20 mins in the water bath for any size jar? Sorry to cross question you but I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to bottling. I need to save my freezer space for other things and if I can bottle some bits costfree then that would be wonderful.

  8. For anyone who doesn’t like to use more sugar than they really have to, Bramleys, cooked on their own and then sieved, makes wonderful apple sauce.

  9. Judy, that sounds lovely – do you hot water bath the jars?

  10. Fiona, why not use your apple must to make apple butter? Fruit butters are lovely, low sugar spreads. I use one-half as much sugar, by volume, as fruit pulp. Cook apples in cider, strain off juice for jelly making, then cook down pulp into fruit butter. Season with either cinnamon and cloves OR nutmeg and cardamom.

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