Selecting High-Quality Fruit:
If you're purchasing apples, fall is the best time to buy them if you want the greatest selection. Choose ripe apples that feel firm and crisp in hand and have a bright color. Avoid apples that feel soft and mealy or have cuts or punctures in the skin.
Preparing for Freezing:
Wash and cut apples into quarters, but do not peel them. Place them in the bottom of a large kettle filled with a few inches of water. Cover and cook them until they are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Strain the apples using a hand cranked food mill or a food processor with a grinder/sieve attachment. Add sugar and spices to taste and let cool before pouring into rigid containers for freezing. If you're only making a small batch and don't have access to a food mill or grinder/sieve, peel and core the apples and chop them into small pieces before cooking them. When soft, mash them up with a potato masher in the bottom of the kettle.
Approximately 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of applesauce will fill a 1 quart jar.
Applesauce can be frozen in plastic freezer bags and rigid plastic or glass containers that are airtight and provide a moisture/vapor barrier. Leave at least 1/2 of headroom for pints and 1 inch for quarts.
Maximum Storage Time:
1 year at 0ºF.
Applesauce can be thawed in the refrigerator or, if you're in a hurry, use the microwave.
Tips & Shortcuts:
Substitute apple juice for water to cut down using granulated sugar. If you like to season your applesauce with cinnamon, a few red hot candies will add flavor and give the applesauce a rosy pink glow. Spices intensify during freezing so add them sparingly. You can also freeze applesauce without seasoning and add it after thawing.
By Ellen Brown