Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Canning Applesauce - Water Bath Method

If you haven't preserved any food using the water bath method you are missing out.  Canning using the water bath method is very safe and effective.  Plus I don't have to take up valuable freezer space. 

My mom makes homemade applesauce for the whole family from her very prolific apple tree and us girls take it home and can it.  Aren't we the luckiest gals ever?!?!  She does the really hard work and we get the amazing results.  So last night I canned my mothers homemade applesauce.  And of course we ate some too while it was still warm, oh the goodness.

I have seen some comments were people say canning is too risky and they are too afraid to try it.  Anyone can do this.  It is not hard but it just takes a little time.  I don't even use a pressure cooker.  Here's how we do it.

Jars - buy jars that are designed for canning - They can be purchased on line, at places like Wal-Mart, even your Farm and Home type stores.  Sometimes you can use a recycled mayo jar but only if your canning lids fit perfectly.

Lids - again buy lids that are designed for canning and my mother suggets that you not try to reuse your lids, you take the risk of them not sealing and they are cheap.  These can also be purchased anywhere you can buy jars.  You can even buy them in the grocery store.

Rings - Rings are meant to be used over and over again.  You only need them to hold the lids down during the boiling process, so you won't need as many rings as you will lids.

Jar lifter - this is a pretty important tool because you have to be able to remove the jars from the boiling water safely.  These can be purcahsed in any of the above mentioned stores.

Very Large Pot with a lid - mine holds about about 50-60 quarts of liquid so it is pretty darn big. (My mom gives the best presents, actually she was probably just encouraging me to can my own stuff. LOL) Here are a couple of pictures from on the types you can use.  Mine looks like the stainless steel one.

1.  Start the water boiling in your large pot.  You will need enough water so that the jars have at least an inch of water covering them.

2.  Make sure your jars are very clean, remember you are storing food in them.  I run mine thru the dishwasher on a hot cycle and use them while they are still warm.  Another way to help the lids seal.

3. Rinse your lids and rings in some boiling water right before using.  I do this in the kitchen sink and just pour the water over them and let them sit in the hot water until the water is cool enough to drain.

4.  Fill your clean jars with applesauce (or whatever you decide to preserve) and leave at least an inch of room between the food and the lid.

5.  Place the lid and the ring on the jar.  Be sure the edge of the jar is very clean, wipe it with a clean towel to be sure to ensure a proper seal. When putting the ring on the jar you only put it on as tight as you can without making that grimacing face.  You will want to be able to get the rings off without having to bother the men in your family, plus it isn't needed for a good seal. So don't go all Arnold Schwartzenegger about screwing the rings onto the jars.

6. When the water is boiling, and not before, place the filled jars carefully into the water.  Place as many jars as you can into the pot and only in a single layer.  Do not stack jars on top of each other. 
**You should get a metal rack that fits in the bottom of your pan when you buy it but if you don't you can place a regular dish towel in the bottom of your pot (not a flour sack towel, its too thin).  This keeps the jars from coming into direct contact with the heat.**  (this is what my mother told me and that is all I know about this for now :) )

7. Set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes (for applesauce)  For additional processing times for other foods please refer to this website.  Let the filled jars sit in the continuously boiling water for 25 minutes (the time to process apples).  Some foods take less time, some take more.

8.  When the time is up carefully remove the jars from the boiling water and place on a thick towel on your counter.  The jars will be very hot.  Do not handle them with your bare hands.  And keep them out of reach of children. 

9.  Refill the pot with more filled jars and repeat the 25 minutes.

10. As the filled jars begin to cool you will start hearing a "pop" sound.  This is the moment of success.  When the jars "pop" that means they are sealed.  It is truly a triumphant sound.  Don't worry if they don't all make a "popping" sound, they can seal without making a sound. 

The ultimate test of the seal.
When the jars are cool enough to touch push down on the center of each lid.  The lid should not let you indent it with your finger.  If the lid gives way and makes a slight popping sound the jar did not seal.  At this point you have two options, simply refrigerate the unsealed jar and eat soon, or replace the lid and try the water bath method again.  Some lids are faulty and just won't seal.

Before preparing to store your newly canned food go ahead and take the rings off of the jars.  If the jars are sealed properly you no longer need the rings and you can then use them on your next canning project.

This is our finished product.  I really hope you try this method someday.  It doesn't heat up your home as bad as using a pressure cooker does. 

This post can also be seen on the following posts:
Jill's Home Remedies - Natural Living Link Up


  1. I am making able sauce today. YUm!

  2. Good for you Debbie. It's that time of year again.

  3. Thanks for this! I think I will try this for our tomato sauce. As you say, it saves precious freezer space.

  4. @ Anonymous - be sure to check the amount of time it takes to process tomato sauce because each fruit/vegetable will take longer or shorter times. Some items have to be done in a pressurized canner (items that have little to no acidity). Didn't want you to process for the exact same time as applesauce and have bad results.
    Have fun.