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. How do you prevent the water in the water bath from just passing into the jars? I’m confused. thanks

    • The jars have lids on so the water can’t get in. Tighten the lids a little less than normal. I like to use jars with pop lids because the dimple goes down and you know you have created a good seal.

  2. Fiona – or anyone who can help me please. Can I just confirm that it is definitely OK to water bath ordinary glass jam jars with the normal twist lids (not the kilner type with the 2 part lid)?
    Do you tighten the lids as normal and then water bath them?
    If this is the case can anyone tell me what this actually does to the contents – say the apple sauce inside the jars? Does it keep better and if so how does boiling the jars achieve this?
    Sorry….so many questions.

  3. josephine

    As I came across some windfall apples and needed to find recipes I got onto the internet post haste and came across this wonderful website and this lovely recipe. I immediately got down to work and now have a number of jars full of apple sauce! My next project is to apple chutney…. oh yes!

  4. Sarahs Kitchen

    Just to check on the water depth, do you mean to immerse the jars completely or that there needs to be at least 5cm of water in the pan. Never bottled before!
    Thanks! 🙂

  5. Some of my apples are duly bottled and sitting on my kitchen side. I’ve got loads of apple windfalls left to go but only 4 jars with pop tops left. I’ve got some jars that I was given which had bought tomato sauces in them but they are a tad big for my biggest pan. I’ve tried all my other jars to see if these pop tops fit any of them but no luck. If I can keep my husband from “tidying” them, I’m going to keep a special box of suitable jars set aside. Maybe I’ll have a suitable collection of jars for next autumn. But thanks for the help – much appreciated and a new skill learnt!

  6. SarahGarth

    Love your site Fiona, thank you for sharing your recipes with us. I have never bottled my apple sauce, a good tip indeed! How long does it keep (if refrigerated) once opened?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Sarah

      I reckon that it would keep for at least two weeks in the fridge once opened.

  7. Another question please: if I do my apples over 2 days, ie prepare and cook on one day and water bath the next – do I have to heat the apple back to boiling again before putting in the sterilized jars and then into the water bath? Am I right in assuming that the the apple must already be hot in the jars when they go into the water bath?

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Susan

    We are deep in the process of bottling apples ATM! I can’t believe how many of our neighbour’s windfalls are just rotting on the ground.

    Hi Jo

    Best of luck 🙂

  9. Thanks for the advice everybody. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend…?

  10. We love apple puree here and make lots of it from all the apple varieties we have in the garden and often mix eaters and cookers, this way i don’t have to add any sugar; though occasionally I add some local honey.

    We use the puree in plain yoghurt for breakfast or straight onto bowls of cereal, in apple pies and crumbles to add extra appleyness and with ice cream for a quick dessert; and often straight from the jar.

    I haven’t tried bottling but I’m going to give it go now to ensure lovely apple flavour through the winter and spring.

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