I don't typically do much canning this time of year. The warm weather and high humidity don't make for a fun combination when you don't have a working air conditioner, but I ran in to a problem. I went to make my son's breakfast and discovered we were nearly out of applesauce. I'm not even sure how that happened since I spent weeks last fall putting up more than I thought any one family could eat. Then again, my toddler eats it with breakfast every day, so we go through it like crazy in our house. No matter how hard I work during the fall putting up applesauce for the rest of the year I never seem to make enough. We were down to our last few jars when three things happened at once
- The temperature took a nosedive, with highs in the low 40s (perfect canning weather!)
- Organic apples went on sale at Whole Foods for less than I pay for regular apples at the local orchard
- The first good looking batch of strawberries hit the stores
I decided to take advantage of this little bit of luck and replenish my dwindling stock of applesauce. It isn't often that I make anything other than plain applesauce, but since we have plenty of fresh spring fruit available right now I thought I would take advantage of it. It looks like we'll be enjoying strawberry applesauce for a while to come.
Easy Crock-Pot Strawberry Applesauce
makes roughly 8 half pints or 4 pints
8 large sized apples, any variety
12 - 16 ounces strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
potato masher or food processor
water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
8 - 10 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
magnetic lid lifter
clean dish towels and cloths
- Thoroughly wash all fruit before beginning and cut away any brown areas.
- Peel apples and slice strawberries, then cover with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Thinner apples will cook much faster. This is where an apple peeler/corer/slicer comes in handy, it will also cut your time peeling apples in half. Beg or borrow one if you can, you won't regret it.
- Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until apples mash easily. You can also puree the applesauce in a food processor for a finer sauce.
- While waiting for applesauce to cook, sterilize your canning jars, rings, potato masher, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the applesauce. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
- While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
- Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
- Fill sterilized jars with hot applesauce leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until ﬁngertip tight.
Boiling Water Canning
- Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with lid.
You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.
- Process half pints and pints for 15 minutes, quarts for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
- Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal.
- To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid never reuse an old lid or once the jar is cool, eat the applesauce. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
- Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Make sure to experiment with the flavors different types of apples will produce. I used organic Galla apples for this batch because they were on sale at whole foods, but many varieties make a good sauce.