Did you ever can before? In my 28 years I’ve never done it though I remember my mother doing that. Living in the GDR that was the way to preserve things from your garden. The more you canned the less you had to buy. So, when my mother-in-law offered some apples I jumped to the opportunity and said yes.
I have made apple sauce before but that was a tiny bit and I froze it because it was not even enough for one jar. This time I had much more and so I consulted my GDR cook book. It says: “Cut up apples, remove stem, bad spots and flower, then cook with little bit of water, puree and sweeten to taste. Fill in hot glasses and cook at 90°C for 20 min.”
Well, if you never canned in your life before these instructions help you only so much. Talking to mom helps though, she knows her stuff.
She canned for the longest time because we have a big garden, which produces a lot of fruit and vegetables. Since that garden produced so much a simple pot on the stove wouldn’t do it. Instead she used the old washing machine. That washing machine had only one moving part, in the center, not like the ones you have today with drums. She could take out that central part which left her with a giant pot. My dad made a little wooden rack on which she could put the jars and then she just need to turn on the machine.
Though I have a washing machine it is clearly not suitable for canning. Follow these simple steps to make your apple sauce and can it too (no washing machine required):
– lemon juice
First, I quartered my apples and removed the core. I even somewhat peeled away the skin because if came off easily. If you have a food mill you don’t even need to worry about this part. I cut them up in smaller pieces and put the in a pot. Once in a while I drizzled some lemon juice over it so that they wouldn’t brown too much.
When the pot is full, or you don’t have any apples anymore, add some water so that the bottom is covered. It was maybe 500ml or less in a big pot. Then place on the stove, cover with the lid and cook. You can tell when the apples start to cook because it will smell like apple sauce. Stir once in a while with a big spoon so that everything is nicely mixed.
Taste the apple sauce and see if you need to add any sugar. I had to add 1 teaspoon to one pot, which is like nothing.
Now you can start canning, or, if you don’t have any jars, let the sauce cool down and store in the fridge until you get some.
To can apple sauce:
– apple sauce
– large pot
– smaller pot
– canning jars
– lids for jars
– magnetic wand
Fill the large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the canning jars inside and boil for at least 10 min, the higher you are (altitude) the longer you need to boil them. Do the same with the smaller pot and the lids.
If you just made the apple sauce make sure it’s been boiling for at least 5 min. If you have cold apple sauce, bring to a boil and boil for 5 min.
Tip: It would be helpful to have canning tools which include, but are not limited to: jar lifter, canning funnel, magnetic wand, bubble remover/head space gauge. Mine was bought at Canadian Tire and is from the Bernardin line.
Remove the jars from the boiling water, empty any water and place on a towel. Fill each jar by using a funnel. You DON’T want any food/liquid on the rim of your jar, otherwise it won’t seal properly. Leave a little bit of head space to a vacuum can be created. Also, make sure there are not too many bubbles.
Place the lid on top of each jar and screw tight. This is where the magnetic wand comes in handy because the lids are really hot. When screwing them shut, use a kitchen towel or tea towel so you won’t burn your hands.
Usually the jars would be placed in a pot with boiling water for another 20 to 30 min. If you do so, make sure they are not placed directly on the bottom of the pot but put in some chop sticks so the jars won’t touch the bottom.
This was not necessary with the apple sauce. You can tell by the “click” sound if your canning worked. Warm air cools down, thus shrinks and sucks in the lid. When you open a jar then it also should make a “click” or “plop” sound. If it does not do that you should be cautious about the food and throw it out.
Making apple sauce and canning it is probably most simply way of all canning. Making jam for example requires some more skills. For now I will stick with apple sauce because there are still 20 lbs apples in my kitchen that need to be taken care of.