Everyone loves applesauce -- and if you know how to jar, it makes a great homemade gift!
Greta Dunlap, a California Master Food Preserver, has shared with us her easy applesauce recipe. She gives it to friends for all the major winter holidays, and she reports it's always a hit.
A word of advice before you begin: proper canning and jarring is both an art and a science. You'll want to know what you're doing before you embark on water bath canning -- luckily, the Food Preservers offer classes!
Select apples that are sweet, juicy and crisp. For a tart flavor, add 1 to 2 pounds of tart apples to each 3 pounds of sweeter fruit.
Wash, peel and core apples.
Place pieces in cold water with some bottled lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon to a gallon of water, to prevent darkening.
Drain slices and place in 8 to 10 quart pot. Add ½ cup water. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, heat quickly and cook until tender (5 to 20 minutes, depending on maturity and variety).
Press through a sieve or food mill, if desired. (If you prefer chunky-style sauce, omit this step.) If desired, add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of sauce. Add some fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla bean to taste.
Reheat sauce to boiling. Pack into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids.
Process in a boiling water bath. Pints: 15 minutes. Quarts: 20 minutes
See Greta's recipe for salsa verde here.