Honey Crisps are, in this Northwest heart, a justifiable apple phenomenon: They’re tart; they’re sweet; they’re sturdy enough to swipe up a slab of caramel, they’re crazy juicy and they’re actually double the size of Granny Smiths and McIntoshes. Yes, they can be expensive, but more and more often, they’re found locally in abundance. If you’re lucky enough to score some of these gems, this is an applesauce you must try!
Honey Crisp Applesauce
12-14 large Honey Crisp* apples, (around 2700 g after being peeled and cored)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
*If not available in your area, try Cosmic Crisps, or the old standby: Granny Smith or McIntosh.
Prepare the Jars
Put 10-12 clean half pints (or 5-6 pint jars) in a large canning pot (or good size soup pot). Bring the water level to a few inches above the rim of the tallest jar. (All jars should be submerged). Cover, set the pot to boil and then turn down and leave the jars in simmering water (lid on) until you’re ready to can the applesauce.
In a smaller pot, submerge the jar tops and rims in water (to cover) and bring them to a boil. If reusing rings from previous years, make sure you don’t use any rings which are rusted or bent and never reuse the circular tops: buy those new. Like the jars, leave the lids covered in simmering water until you’re ready to can.
Onto the Applesauce
Peel, core and roughly chop the apples (in equal size chunks) and place the apple chunks in a large soup pot. Add the other ingredients and put on a medium burner. Cook for 25-35 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, until the apples are lovely and soft. Put the lid partially on to help with steaming them.
Once the apples are cooked through, drain half of the liquid into a container (save) and use an immersion blender to blend the apples. If you don’t have one, you can batch blend in a Cuisinart or blender. If the applesauce is too dry, add a little of the reserved liquid to get the desire texture.
The Canning Part
Excellent canning tools to have: (Available at most local hardware stores and grocery stores).
Make sure your instruments are clean and sanitized. Carefully lift a few jars and place them on a clean sheet pan (cookie sheet). (Only fill a few at a time to keep the jars as sanitized as possible). Using the funnel, spoon the applesauce into each jar, leaving 1/4″ head space at the top. Remove the funnel and tap the jar lightly to release any air bubbles (or run a clean knife along the inside of the jar if bubbles persist). Run a clean cloth over the top edges to make sure each jar rim is clean.
Using tongs, pull out a circular top and ring out of the simmering water on the stove. Carefully place the top on each jar and screw on its ring, making sure it is on tight (necessary for ensuring a oroper seal). Repeat until all the jars are filled and ready.
You are now ready to give the jars an essential water processing that will allow the applesauce to be stored. Bring the large pot of water back to a full boil and keep it at that full boil for the whole processing time, cover on. Once the water is boiling again, use the jar lifter to set the jars into the pot. Put the lid on and boil for 10 minutes for half pints and 12 minutes for full pints. Remove the jars from the water with jar lifter when the boiling time is complete and place them on the sheet pan to cool. As they cool, you’ll hear the lids “pop” one by one as the lids seal onto the jars. That’s a good thing! If you don’t hear that pop (or you can see that it has failed to seal), you can reprocess it by changing the jar, adding a new lid and waiting 24 hours before reprocessing.
Allow jars to cool completely before adding a label. Homemade canned applesauce will last a 12-18 months if stored in a cool, dark place. Take a moment to include a “Use By” date on your label. Once canned applesauce is opened, it must be refrigerated.
This applesauce is absolutely delicious, by the way, on oatmeal with this homemade granola!