Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Making and Canning Applesauce with Kids

Written by Kate Tietje, Contributing Writer

In the last couple of weeks, the temperatures have gotten cooler. Fall is definitely on its way. One of our favorite family activities in the fall is apple picking, which leaves us with tons of apples…time to make applesauce!

This year my 2.5 year old is old enough to help, and was very excited about it! Making applesauce is a great project for kids to help with.

First, we took all our apples:

We washed them, and Bekah got excited about them. Here she is with one of them after washing:

We peeled them and sliced them (Bekah helped push down the apple corer):

Yes, that particular apple was a bit too big for the corer! Mommy had to use the knife to cut that one….

Then, Bekah put the apple slices into a big pot for cooking.

We cooked these apples down on the stove for awhile on low-medium heat (to my filled 8-quart stock pot, I added about ½ tsp. citric acid and ½ c. water). I stirred them every 10 – 15 minutes, and as they cooked, they fell apart into applesauce.

Then it was time to fill the jars! Bekah helped spoon the applesauce into them.

Finally, I canned them in a boiling waterbath for 30 minutes. We had applesauce!

Of course, Bekah’s favorite part was eating it. :)

Do you make applesauce in the fall? What are your favorite kid-friendly cooking projects?

About Kate Tietje

Kate is a work-at-home mom to (almost) 4 kids -- Bekah, age 4.5; Daniel, age 3; Jacob, 1; and baby #4, due mid-March 2013. She is married to Ben, a wonderfully supportive husband! She blogs at Modern Alternative Mama, where she writes about natural health, real food, parenting, and all things “green.” She also recently launched Modern Alternative Kitchen, a site about traditional cooking, and is about to launch Modern Alternative Pregnancy. In her “free” time, she enjoys sewing, crafting, cooking, and playing with her children. Follow her on Facebook!

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  1. I love applesauce, both the making and the eating of it. My favorite apples are Gala, but we usually toss in a few other kinds too. We also make it the slow cooker overnight.

    One of our most requested gifts around here is our apple butter, made in a slow cookers with homemade applesauce!

  2. Was totally looking for an article just like this! Thanks!

  3. Yum yum! Looks good :)
    I was wondering what her little girl is standing on to help? Looks like something I need in my kitchen. My 20 month old little girl loves to help me and a chair just makes me too nervous sometimes. Anyone know?

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I’ve been wanting to make applesauce and haven’t been able to get citric acid in ages over here. Thanks Stephanie for letting us know that lemon juice works just as well.

  5. We really liked Jonathan, Golden Delicious, and other “sweeter” varieties for sauce. We tried Cortland but didn’t like it as much. I don’t add sugar (don’t like to) so choosing a naturally sweet apple really helps.

  6. michelle p. from wa says:

    What is your favorite type of apple to make sauce out of? Just curious.

  7. I love cooking with kids! Applesauce is a fall favourite, but bread-making, vegetable soup, peanut butter, and ice cream are some of my other favourite cooking projects with little ones.

  8. I leave the peels on, they slip off once cooked and you can fish them out of the pot or run the sauce through a food mill to get them out. The peel adds a little rosy color to the sauce. I cook the apple slices in apple cider instead of water, and also toss in some star anise, cinnamon and add sweetener to taste. Applesauce is safe to can no matter if you add sweetener or citric acid/lemon juice.

  9. I don’t think you have to add citric acid – that’s just to keep it from changing color. So if you can’t find it, you can just leave it out too.

  10. We’re making applesauce today too! We cut ours up with our Apple Peeler-Corer-Slicer (my son had sooooo much fun with that!) And now I have it on the stove. We used apple cider instead of water, just because we had some in the fridge. And I’ll add some cloves and cinnamon to make it like grandma’s. If it’s too tart I’ll add some honey.

    Instead of canning we’re going to freeze it. I’ve never done that before, but it’s a small batch and we have a new freezer, so we’ll try it. :o)

  11. Johanna — any health food store will have it. :)

  12. Question from a canning newbie: where can I find citric acid? We have a bunch of apples that we picked last weekend and I’d love to can some applesauce!

  13. I’ve never tried applesauce, but have often thought about it. Now that I’ve moved to the Sandhills/beach area, however, I’m thinking that finding large amounts of cheap apples might be a little challenging.

  14. We make applesauce by simply using the same corer/slicer like in the post except we don’t bother peeling the apples. Then we borrow a bunch of crockpots from friends, fill them up, add just a bit of water or apple cider to the bottom so it doesn’t burn in the beginning, turn them on, and a few hours later (or overnight) – we have a ton of applesauce! No stirring, no watching the flame – it’s SUPER easy. We have an OXO food mill which we use to process out the skins and then we can it in a water bath like normal. We found this method to be totally fast and easy and a great way to quickly make enough applesauce to last us for the whole winter. Also, we like to use multiple different varieties of apples – it makes the taste much more complex and usually eliminates having too tart applesauce.

  15. I love making applesauce! I just made a batch from my moms apples. Unfortunately hers are too tart to a lid sugar all together though.


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