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apples cooking If you remember Mom's old-fashioned chunky applesauce, here's the quick and easy way to make chunky applesauce with NO special equipment.

With chunks of apples, natural sweetness, no added sugar or preservatives, this chunky applesauce will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. By selecting the right apples, it will be so naturally-sweet that you won't need to add any sugar at all.

Here's how to do it without, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated.

If you decide to can the applesauce, the jars have a shelf life of 18 months to 2 years, and require no special attention.
 & And of course, you can freeze the applesauce instead (it keeps indefinitely in a good freezer). And it will keep a few weeks in a cold fridge.

Directions for Making Chunky Applesauce


  • Apples (see step 1)
  • Cinnamon



  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
  • Jar funnel ($2 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates)
  • Vegetable / fruit peeler ($1.99 at the grocery store
  • At least 1 large pot
  • Large spoons and ladles
  • Ball jars (Publix, Kroger, other grocery stores and some "big box" stores carry them - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings)
  • If you want to can the applesauce rather than store it in the fridge or freezer: 1 very large pot or 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars of applesauce after filling (about $20 to $35 at mall kitchen stores and local "big box" stores, but it's usually cheaper online from our affiliates) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.

Chunky Apple Sauce Recipe and Directions

Step 1 - Selecting the apples

The most important step!  You need apples that are sweet - NOT something like Granny Smith's.  Yeah, I know you like them (why do sweet women like sour apples???) and even if I did, they still wouldn't make good applesauce - you'd have to add a lot of sugar. 

Instead, choose apples that are naturally sweet, like Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Rome and always use a mixture - never just one type.  This year I used

  • 30% Fuji,
  • 30% Gala
  • 20% red Delicious
  • 10% Yellow Delicious, and
  • 10% Winesap. 

This meant it was so sweet I did not need to add any sugar at all.  And the flavor is great! The Fuji's and Gala's give it an aromatic flavor!


Step 2 - How many apples and where to get them

You can pick your own, or buy them at the grocery store.  Grocery store prices for apples typically range from $1 to $2 per lb.  Of course, in larger quantities, they can be had for much less. They were available from late September at $12 to $24 per bushel (which is 42 pounds, so even at $24 per bushel, that's only 57 cents per pound).

If you're only making a small amount, figure about 3 to 4 pounds of apples per quart of applesauce you want to make.

Buying in bulk, you will get about 12 to 14 quarts of applesauce per bushel of apples. 


Step 3 -Wash and peel the apples!

I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the apples in plain cold water.

Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, peel the apples.




Step 4 -Wash and peel and chop the apples!

Chopping them is much faster if you use one of those apple corer/segmenters - you just push it down on an apple and it cuts it into segments. 






Using a paring knife, be sure to remove any seeds, hard parts (usually the part around the seeds) and any mush or dark areas.










Step 5 - Cook the Apples

apples cookingPretty simple! Put about 1 inch of water (I used either filtered tap water or store brand apple juice) on the bottom of a huge, thick-bottomed pot. Put the lid on, and the heat on high.  When it gets really going, turn it to medium high until the apples are soft through and through. As the apples cook, they will release more water (apples are 99% water!).


You need only cook the apples until they become soft, but before they completely fall apart


I usually leave all the water/juice in there, as the apple sauce tends to thicken naturally as it cools, but it there is excessive free water, you can ladle it off (and drink it; it's apple juice!)!




apples cookingStep 6 - Season and keep the applesauce hot

Put the applesauce into a large pot. Add cinnamon to taste.  You should not need to add any sugar.  

The applesauce does not need any further cooking; just keep it hot until you get enough made to fill the jars you will put into the canner (Canners hold seven jars at once, whether they are quart or pint size). 

Of course, if you are going to eat the applesauce fresh, freeze it, or just store it in the fridge (lasts a week or two) then you're done!






If you want to can the applesauce:

Step 7 - Wash the jars and lids

The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. Otherwise put the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. I just put the lids in a small pot of almost boiling water for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" (available from target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) to pull them out.

Step 8 - Fill the jars

Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top, wipe any spilled applesauce of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.  Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. Boil them for at least 20 minutes (and no more than 30 min).


Step 9 - Done

Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight)  You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.







Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            helpful to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of hot water 
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. Canning jar funnel
          - to fill the jars


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to use a sieve or food mill, if I peel the apples before I cook them for applesauce? I'm really one of the cheapest people ever and would rather do the extra work than go buy equipment!

A. Nope, if you peel the apples (and remove the stems, seeds, core) you can cook it and just stir it vigorously. It will never be a smooth as regular applesauce made through a sieve, but you can just call it "chunky applesauce"!

Q. Can I use a blender for making apple sauce instead of a food mill or food processor?

Certainly! Of course, you will need to peel, cut, core and manually remove the seeds first, before you cook the apples; unless  you want them all blended up into the applesauce. I get letters from people say they prefer it that way. I think I'll keep using the strainer.. But sure, aside from the extra work in preparation , you can use the blender.  Some people use a juicer, too. Of course, with a juicer, you will use the juice, not the bits that are trapped in the screen.


Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker

See this page for more information, reviews, descriptions of other strainers and supplies or to order!


Mirro Stainless Steel Foley Food Mill
3 1/2Qt size.

See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!



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Home Canning Kits

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!