This website here has TONS of great information about making applesauce: from choosing apples to making and bottling the sauce, etc. I'm not going to talk about choosing apples, since she already does all that. But I'll give instructions for how I made and bottled the sauce.
Things You'll Need:
- apples (You'll get 12 - 16 quarts of sauce per bushel of apples. A bushel weighs about 42 lbs.)
- cinnamon (optional, but I like it!)
- sugar (optional - I don't usually use any sugar unless the sauce just seems too tart. With the right apples, you shouldn't need any.)
- washed and piping hot mason jars with lids and rings
- water bath canner
- food strainer/saucer. I have this one here. If you plan to make a lot of applesauce, I highly recommend it! I hear you can make applesauce with just a plain metal strainer, too, but luckily I've never tried it. Sounds like a headache. :)
Soak your jars in hot water so they will be nice and hot when you need them. Put the lids in a small sauce pan of water to simmer. Fill your waterbath pot with water and start heating to a boil.
Wash your apples and cut them them in quarters. LEAVE THE SKINS AND CORES ON - no need to remove them! (YAY!) Just cut them into quarters or use one of those metal apple segmenter thingys to slice the apple quickly.
Throw the apples into a pot of water and bring to a boil. When it gets really going, turn the heat down to medium-high and let cook until the apples are nice and soft through and through. (This took about 10 - 25 minutes per batch.)
Now, if you have a food saucer like I do, just stick the soft apples in the top of your saucer, crank and voila! APPLESAUCE! Again, if you do not have a food saucer, you can still make applesauce, especially if you're just doing a small batch. Click here to read all about how to do this with no special equipment.
Now, if you want to bottle the applesauce, put the applesauce into a large pot. Keep the sauce hot. Season with cinnamon and/or sugar as needed to taste. Note - a little bit of sugar goes a long way! The sauce doesn't need to cook, it just needs to be kept hot until you have enough to fill your jars.
Fill the jars to within a 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims well and put a lid and ring on each jar. Place in a waterbath canning pot and when the water comes to full boil, start timing. How long you keep them in the waterbath depends on your elevation. I processed mine for 30 minutes.
When done, remove the jars and set in a safe place to cool and seal overnight. You're done! Yay!