Making Applesauce — A.K.A. Getting Saucy With The Non-Consumer Advocate

by Katy on November 16, 2011 · 30 comments

The day before yesterday I took advantage of a screaming good deal on wonderful local apples and cooked up a big ol' batch of applesauce. And lest you think this was no big deal for me, I'd never made applesauce by my lonesome before, (my father always helped) and I actually bought the apples three weeks ago! I decided to stop being intimidated by the task and took the metaphorical jump off the high diving board.


First up, wash the apples. (There were actually many, many more apples than this.)


Next step was to chop the apples. Because my family owns a vintage "Squeezo Strainer," peeling and coring the apples is unnecessary. I checked on eBay, and these saucy little gems sell for upwards of a hundred dollars. I guess we're not the only ones that recognize their genius design.


I then boiled the cut apples, which is when the windows started to steam up with delicious fragrance. Mmm . . . .


My "Squeezo Strainer" at work. The lovely applesauce goes into one bowl, while all the peel and seeds are diverted off to the side. My compost bins were very lucky this day.


Heavenly applesauce.


Teenage boys (and occasional congressmen) may take self portraits flexing their abdominal muscles in their oh-so-sexy bathrooms, but I take self portraits of myself making applesauce. Waaay more alluring. Note the ancient "Squeezo Strainer" box on the floor.


I ran out of canning jars at the end, but then remembered that I had a few vintage blue Ball jars that I normally employ as vases. Their rims were intact and smooth, so I scrubbed them down and put them to work. The blue glass plus the yellow applesauce creates an otherworldly green glow, which is both beautiful and simultaneously kind of ugly.

In the end I canned 17 jars, which we will both dine from and employ as holiday gifts. Even my little sister Sara, who is a canning dynamo was impressed with how much applesauce I produced. It took around four hours including clean up and the occasional Twitter update. I somehow didn’t photograph the canning bath, but I ensure that it did indeed happen.

I am now done canning for the year, and am self-impressed with how I somehow plucked up the courage to can applesauce, pickles and jam this year. (And I think I made jam three times.) I blame Ashley English of Small Measure for getting me off my non-canning duff, so I guess I owe her a thank you. I only with she didn’t live 3000 miles away, so she could lend a hand now and again.

Have you tried your hand at canning? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl November 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

Good job, Katy!!! You are an applesauce-making-queen.


Katy November 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

With a crown made from peels and seeds.



Megg November 16, 2011 at 11:42 am

Lack of a squeezo strainer is what prevents me from making applesauce 🙁 Although, my mom has an apple peeler-corer-slicer, but she’s far away so I can’t borrow it.
Sad day in the applesauce department in my house.


Holly H December 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm

Megg I make applesauce all the time but don’t have a strainer like that. I simply peel the apples, then push them through your basic corer/wedger thingy (you can probably find one at goodwill for 50 cents) and then I throw them in my crockpot. I don’t can the sauce, I freeze it in plastic, which is the same thing I do with jam. Someday maybe I’ll have a kitchen with some cabinet space and someone to teach me how to can safely, but until then this works for me.


Dogs or Dollars November 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

Much, much, MUCH canning at our house this year. Jam, and pickles and pears and sauce, oh my! I agree with blaming Ashley English. Especially for her non-squishy pickle recipe, which may have now ruined me to store bought pickles forever.

I envy you squeezo owners. Good Job!


Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 11:55 am

My Grandma canned, but I cannot remember my Mom canning. One of my nieces is a farm wife extraordinaire (in addition to being the bread winner for the family), so I may have take lessons one of these days. My brother’s farm ( is our major source of fresh fruit. So far we stick with freezing fruit, which my husband estimates saves us about $100 over buying it in the store in the winter.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary November 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I don’t mind peeling and coring the apples, since I don’t have that super-duper squeezo thingamajig. But what I need is a way to manage the canning bath. Well, what I need is a friend with those supplies that I could borrow!

I made applesauce and just put it in jars in the freezer. It’s not officially “canned” but I think it will be fine in the freezer, especially since it’s not likely to last all that long. 🙂


Megyn @Minimalist Mommi November 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I have never canned, but am SUPER intrigued. However, I always get intimidated by the “stuff” I would need to buy in order to do it. Maybe one of these days.

However, applesauce is made around here! If you want a kick, I learned a trick from my nana–add Red Hots!


Jennifer G. November 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I was wondering what was going on with the greenish stuff in the corner 🙂

I did some freezer jams this summer, but nothing else.


Megan November 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Yup we can. Not applesauce. I wanted to this year after The Frugal Girl posted her tutorial, but the apple crop wasn’t good at my dad’s, and I never found a good deal. I managed to freeze about a gallon bag of apples which is good for a few cakes and maybe a pie. Does that count?
That squasher gem is too funny. It’s huge! We have the goofy triangle juicer/strainer thing- but FG says it works without peeling or coring too.

We did can tomato juice. Around 30 quarts worth. Hoping to trade my dad for some of his whole tomatoes.

I also made successful apple jelly (from cider, not my own apple juice, which I’ve tried before and ended up with apple hard candy….),

And the never fail Rhubarb Strawberry Jam.

Didn’t get any salsa made this year. 🙁 But I did a bunch last year so there is still some on my shelf.

Oh, and I have close to 30 jars of canned beef. Anyone tried that? It’s amazing! I think we will have that for supper now that I think about it. Maybe when I get around to blogging again, I can do a post about that.

I have so many beautiful canned goods that my hubby bought me a shelf for our anniversary just so I could store them all.

Oh, and I love your nesting bowls. I have a severe fetish with nesting bowls, especially those great old ones or local pottery.


Katy November 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Pyrex has a special place in my heart. Not the patterned stuff though, as I am a purest. 😉



Jenni November 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

This year I ventured into canning concord grape jam, raspberry jam, strawberry jam, spiced peach butter and spiced pear butter. I’m still intimidated by a pressure cooker. I found a very inspiring book called Canning for a New Generation, that made me feel like I could do it! Congrats on your apple-saucing. I’m impressed. I meant to do that this year and have yet to just do it.


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares November 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Congratulations, Katy! That IS a lot of applesauce for one person to make. I’d love to receive a gift like that, especially in a pretty blue jar! My son’s teachers are getting dried apples this year for gifts.

For those despairing of not having a Squeez-O strainer, the Foley Food Mill does pretty much the same thing (the vintage Foley Food Mills are good, but the new ones I’ve heard a fair number of complaints about). You can see a Foley Food Mill in action here:
You can really whip through a lot of apples with this thing, and just like the Squeez-O, you don’t need to peel or core.


Jo November 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I haven’t made jam or pickles for years. I get too stressed out over the sterilization part and too dizzy from the heat part. I envy those who do it and enjoy it! Your applesauce looks delicious and that machine is awesome.


Karen November 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Lovely jars of applesauce, Katy! I make a lot of applesauce every summer from our Gravenstein tree. I don’t can it but occasionally have frozen it when there’s an overflow. We have applesauce all summer and into the fall. It’s great all by itself, mixed into vanilla yogurt or baked in applesauce cake. I think the need for peeling depends on the apple species. With Gravensteins, you definitely want to peel them, but I’ve had some greener variety applesauce in which the peels were left on and it was fine.

My sister and I made apricot jam a couple months ago. I was intending to give some of my jars away as gifts but…um, this jam was so good that we have now eaten all but one jar.

I just took down the last of the yellow pear cherry tomato plants, ending up with a lot of tomatoes that were still on the vine, but about to freeze any day. So I made a balsamic sauce with the tomatoes and am looking forward to using it on pasta or chicken. These kind of impulsive food projects, I just love.


Practical Parsimony November 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I canned with my mother from the time I was about 12-yrs to 18 yrs, went to university, got married, had baby and at 21 yrs, I started canning on my own. Everytime I was in school, I did not can. A newborn baby never stopped me. This year, I did not can one thing.

However, I did teach a friend. He did well. If you don’t mind, Katy…
I have things ready to can and will, just not yet.


Practical Parsimony November 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Katy, that is an impressive amount of applesauce! Have you ever made an applesauce cake? I never hear of one until either the Waltons or LHOTP.

This year, my dehydrator has been going, so I dehydrated, 30 pounds of bananas, apples, peppers, onions….all free food.

My goal is to can meat, eventually.


Carla November 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Oh, canning, how I love thee! We did an impressive amount of canning this year, which is strange as it is the year I had the most children (3), one of whom is just 6 months now. This year we did about 60 jars of tomato sauce which should last us through to the summer, plus chutneys (peach; tomato), jam (peach, strawberry, triple berry, straw/rasp-berry), candied jalapenos, salsa (green tomato; tomatillo), apple butter, then pesto for the freezer, and preserved dried tomatoes in olive oil. We’ve done different things over the years (ex:chili sauce, red pepper spread, peaches in honey) but we always do jams and tomato sauce. Even my husband did some canning on his own this year for the first time too! (antipasto and pickled watermelon rinds). I love opening a jar of something in the winter and tasting the freshness of summer in the jar, yum!

For the tomatoes, I have an Italian tomato passer which does the same as the Squeezo, I wonder if I could use it for apples? I have to confess that I haven’t canned apple sauce, since we go through so much of it, that so far it has seemed like too much work, but if I could use the tomato passer for this, then I might rethink that next year. I guess I’ll have to give it a try.

For the jam, I make mine with Pomona’s Universal Pectin, which jells without sugar, so you can sweeten it with whatever you wish – this year I used apple juice and honey, but you can also use honey, maple syrup, stevia, any other sweetener you want. I love using this pectin because it really makes it easy to customize the jam to my taste, and keep the sugar low in our household (well, at least in the jam!).


Linda November 16, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I use a Foley Food Mill & love the pink applesauce that comes from leaving the peel on the apples. For the first time this year I made apple sauce in jelly jars, perfect for sample pack gifts.


Kristin @ Klingtocash November 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I had always wanted to try my hand at canning and when my mother gave me over three dozen quart sized jars, I decided this would be the year.Instead of starting simple, I went for spaghetti sauce. After a full day of cooking and canning, I am now the proud owner of 14 quarts of sauce. I have already used a few of them in various recipes. It is absolutely delicious and saves me so much freezer space. I plan to do it again next year.


Robin November 16, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Canned all our Roma tomatoes this year as they ripened so it was never a huge project. Love love LOVE pulling down a jar of my tomatoes for a recipe 🙂
Wish I had made jelly with our grapes but at the time it was just too much and too overwhelming. Next year.


Katie November 17, 2011 at 5:13 am

My family has the same apple press. Making sauce with my dad is one of my favorite seasonal memories.


Michelle November 17, 2011 at 6:05 am

I too make applesauce and use my food mill so no peeling but my sauce is always pink, why is that all you canners?


Mairsydoats November 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Type of apple, and leaving the peel on until you put the mush through the food mill. 🙂 Even speckled or yellow apples often turn out pink applesauce…


Jenny November 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

Last year was my first year canning except for the odd batch of chutney. I made jam, pickles, salsa, and relish. We still had pickles left so this year I concentrated on fruit butters–less sugar than jam and good for mixing in with our morning yogurt and granola. And I made dilly beans. Yum! Don’t have a lot of stuff for gifts so I will probably still make some rhubarb chutney with my mountain of frozen rhubarb before Christmas gifting begins.

Lots of people can salmon here but I have not been brave enough to try pressure canning.


Jessica November 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I didn’t realize we could use this device for apples, we just use it for our tomatoes. Interesting, though we never eat apple sauce, despite thinking we might lol


emmer October 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

if you want pureed apple sauce and don’t have the gizmo, there are ways! if you have a kitchen aid mixer, you may already have a grinding attachment you can use on apples. or the wonderful peel-core-slice apple gizmos (which also work on potatoes) are about $30 in many kitchenware depts or on ebay/amazon. really worth the money. if you use one, the apples will just about disintegrate while cooking. i like the remaining lumps. if you don’t you can mash/squash them in the pot or, if you have an immersion blender, you can puree them to pate.
i use a little apple juice when starting them in the pot, lest they stick before they begin releasing their juices. you don’t have to have a canner–you can use a stock pot, or any tall pot that you can have at least an inch of water over the tops of the jars. remember that boiling water roils up, so you need even more height. you also need a rack or something in the bottom that lets water circulate under the jars, and something, maybe towels between the jars so they don’t bang each other while boiling. i have a very large soup pot and bought a jar rack to convert it to a canner. saved me buying and storing two big pots. if you are trying out canning, using a pot you have and jerry-rigging the assessories lets you try your hand without spending a lot. the one thing you absolutely need is up-to-date instructions, for safety! your local university extension service can provide this with classes and brochures. or you can get a copy of the ball blue book of preserving at your library. or you can spring for a copy at a local bookstore for about $10. lots of good info, and plenty of recipes for water bath and pressure canning as well as tips for other preservation methods. anyone can learn to safely and easily can fruit, tomatoes, jams and pickles that are better than store-bought while putting a dent in their food budget.
katie, i have just one question–17 quarts would not use up 100+ pounds of apples…what are you doing with the rest???


Katy October 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

I will be making MANY more than 17 quarts of applesauce! Also, a couple of pies to throw in the freezer.


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