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Make The Most Of Those Apples: How To Can Applesauce & Apple Jelly From The Same Batch

>5 October 2010
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When a local fresh foods market gave us a bucket full of “bad” apples for our pig, I knew that Porkchop wouldn’t see most of them! Almost every one of those apples was perfectly fine, all except for a small bruise here or there. No, I was gonna use those apples! And I wanted to make the most of them. Browsing through my canning books, I was excited to discover that I could make applesauce and apple jelly from the same batch of apples! Now, that’s how you use what you have wisely.

First we make the jelly…


  • Apples (sweet, not sour)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Juice

*Note: this recipe is a no-pectin recipe. Apples naturally have pectin in them. Sometimes, however, you may still end up with jelly that is slightly runny. If you’d like to add pectin, you can follow this canning recipe instead.

For applesauce and jelly, you want to use sweet apples, not tart ones. The ones I used were mostly Honey Crisps this time. Wash the apples, and cut off the bad places.

Remove the stem and the blossom end, and chop the apples up, core and all. Measure how many “slightly heaped” quarts of apples you have. You really want to have just over 4 quarts (or one gallon), at least. This time I ended up with just over a gallon. Perfect.

Put the chopped apples in a large saucepan, and add 1 cup of water for every heaping quart of apples.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the apples are tender. Stir every now and then, and smash the apples a little bit to extract more juice.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple chunks to a separate bowl, making sure to keep all of the liquid in the pot. You may have to drain accumulated juices from the bowl of apple chunks back into the pot. You need as much liquid as you can get.

Next, strain the liquid from the pot to remove any solid apple chunks. I use a couple of layers of cheese cloth secured to a pitcher with a rubber band. Slowly pour the liquid through the strainer. Dump any solids you catch in the cheese cloth back in with the rest of the apples.

Now you have  your strained apple juice, and the apple chunks. Set the apples aside to work with in a little while.

Measure how much liquid you have. For a gallon of chopped apples I ended up with 4 cups of juice. Pour the liquid back into the pot and add 3 cups of sugar and 2 Tbsp lemon juice for every 4 cups of apple juice.

**Short Cut: You can make apple jelly from store bought 100% apple juice the same way. Just start at this point. I think you need to add pectin though (does anybody know?)

Bring liquid to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue stirring. Boil down to gelling point. Use the spoon test to check for doneness:

Spoon Test

Dip a chilled, metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture and scoop out a spoonful. Tip the spoon over a bowl (away from the steam of the pot), and watch how the jelly slides off.

If it runs off like syrup, it’s not ready.

If it comes off in a couple of bigger drops, it’s almost ready.

When the jelly slides off of the spoon in one sheet, it’s perfect.

You are now ready to fill your jars. Ladle the hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars. Fill to within 1/8″ of rim. Use a wet rag to wipe the rim clean of any drips, then affix the lid and ring.

Some people just allow the jelly to cool on a rack, and don’t process. I am one of these people most of the time. If you want, though, you may process the jars in a water bath canner for 5 minutes. I ended up with 4 half-pints of jelly.

Okay, so now that that part is done… on with the applesauce!


  • Cooked apples (leftover from apple jelly)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)

So, I totally have to go back on my bad review of the Back To Basics Food Strainer & Sauce Maker. Although it was undeniably horrible to use with my raw tomatoes, it has been a god-send to use on cooked apples and pears! As you will see, this thing makes some beautiful applesauce. Yes, it still leaked black stuff from the handle, but you learn to deal with it.

You really do need some sort of food mill for this process, to separate the skins and seeds from the pulp.

Put the cooked apple chunks through the mill, and marvel at the beauty of your homemade applesauce filling the bowl.

When the apples have all been pureed, transfer the pulp back to a large saucepan. Taste the applesauce to decide whether you’d prefer to add some sugar and/or cinnamon. I opted out of sweetening mine, as it was plenty sweet naturally (and because I want my kids to develop a taste for naturally sweetened foods). Bring sauce to a boil, stirring to avoid scorching.

Ladle the hot applesauce into hot, clean jars, leaving 1/2 in. headspace. Wipe rim with a wet cloth, and assemble the two piece lid.

Hot water bath pints and quarts for 20 minutes. (I ended up with 4 pints of applesauce.)

And the little bit of skins and stuff that was leftover from the strained apples went to the pig. See, she did get a little taste after all!

Have a special recipe for apple jelly or applesauce you’d like to share? I’d love to know if you have a different way of doing things!

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  • Tina said:

    Perfect timing!
    I made an apple pie, apple tarts (couldn;t stnad to let the extra pie dought go to waste!) and made a batch of crockpot apple butter.
    But I still have apples!
    So tomorrow ( I am exhausted now!) I will be making your apple jelly/applesauce to use up the remaining apples my MIL brought me from her tree.
    I think apples multiply like rabbits, huh?

  • Emily, The Harried Homemaker said:

    I turned a bushel of apples into 7 half-pints of apple preserves, 4 pints of apple butter, and 7 qts and a pint of applesauce. Oh.my.word. The applesauce turned out so delicious! I used fresh apple cider from the farm the apples came from in my recipes. I think the cider intensified the fresh apple flavor.

    Here’s the post on my blog: http://theharriedhomemakerpreps.blogspot.com/2010/09/fall-canning-fun.html

  • Mrs. D said:

    I tried apple butter for the first time this year. On my way to work I go by this apple tree that is just loaded with large fruit. I finally stopped and asked the owner if they would mind if I came and picked some. I got two large dishpans full. On Saturday peeled and cored some to them and used some of them to make an apple cake for a dinner at church… see: (http://.homejoys.blogspot.com) and then cooked the rest with the peels. I added cinnamon and a splash of ground allspice. After the apples had cooked for quite some time I let them rest overnight. On Sunday evening I took out the pot and warmed them up again. I had a recipe for apple butter, but I wanted to see what would happen if I just blended them up with no honey or sugar or maple. These apples were dry and very sweet. After cooking the mixture took on the consistency of apple butter. I cooked it for a while longer and then filled some small jelly jars and processed them. I really don’t like things too sweet, but this is really great apple butter, almost too sweet. My only complaint might be the peels. I didn’t mill the apples so the peels were still on and every once in a while there’s a tiny bit of peel in your mouth. I know what it is so it doesn’t really bother me, but someone else might not like that texture, so the next time I make apple butter I will cook with the peels to get the color and then process them in the food mill to extract the peels. I’m psyched that there’s no sugar in it. If the apple tree keeps producing I might stop next year and get some apples again. Yea for free!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s great Mrs. D! Doesn’t hurt to ask, huh?!!

  • Tina said:

    Roll call:
    Apple butter…done!
    Apple Jelly…done!
    Apple Sauce…done!

    Reapeat tomorrow?
    There are still appples on mom’s tree :)

  • Tina said:

    Apparently I am so apple-overloaded I can’t spell today :O

  • Deanna said:

    Honey crisps for free!!!! Those are considered gourmet apples on my fruit co-op. They are twice the price of regular ones. Apple sauce from the store is so loaded with junk. Feels good to put good stuff in my little ones’ bodies.

    I don’t have a food mill but I just core and peel apples first. A little more trouble but all works out in the end. I then sauce them by putting them in the food processor (blender works) or with a potato masher. That way I have some chunky and some smooth sauce.

    I have friends that can apple pie filling…maybe another time :)

  • Lanna said:

    Oh! You didn’t say you’d used *raw* tomatoes with the food mill! Next time try steamed/cooked tomatoes. Kinda like milling raw vs. cooked apples. ;)

    Yay for more things for the pantry. :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Lanna- well, the mill specifically brags that it will strain uncooked tomatoes. It lies.

  • Melody D said:

    Our applesauce was also made of free apples and I used a different recipe for the jelly. Might look up apple peel and core jelly, you could save your scraps all year for a cheap batch of jelly. I don’t have a food mill either so I use my apple lathe to peel core and thinly slice before I put it in the crockpot to cook down.

  • DeDe said:

    I tried it with 6 heaping quarts of apples and didn’t get as much yield as you did. Still, I’m excited to try the jelly and already know the sauce is great (I didn’t use sugar either).

    Thanks for posting this recipe. You can read my story at http://homeschoolblogger.com/homesteaderwannabe/

    PS I hope it’s okay that I linked to you. I’m VERY new to blogging so I’m not sure how that works. Let me know.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    DeDe- Thanks for the link! I’m glad you tried my recipes. I agree, looks like it was a lot of trouble for you to make the applesauce w/out a strainer. Maybe you’ll be able to find one at a yard sale for cheap, if you keep your eyes open! Hope the jelly turns out yummy!! You got a killer deal on all that produce!

  • Abbigail said:

    Kendra, I used this recipe. Was pretty easy but I was wondering could I add less sugar to the jelly and it still turn out the same. I think its a tad too sweet for me. But other than that turned out great. Next year I will be trying my hand at gardening and canning more. I will definetly be using some of your recipes and taking some of your advice. Even though in some situations you have “learned the hard way” It is great for someone like me who is starting out. I love your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Abbigail- No, you cannot use less sugar. It won’t gel properly. Maybe you can use apples that aren’t as sweet next time?

  • Kotiäiti said:

    I tried your Apple jelly recipe. But my apples didn´t have any pectin!?
    They didn´t turn to jelly :)
    So I just cooked and cooked, so long that it turned to applesyrup :)
    It is wonderfull!
    We use it like honey.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I wonder if you should have let it cook a little longer? Maybe if you put it in the refrigerator it will turn to jelly after a couple of days. I had some grape jelly do that! At least it still tastes good :)

  • Kotiäiti said:

    I´m trying today again. We have so much apples.
    I will use jam/jelly sugar, it has little pectin on.
    I don´t know do you have that kind of sugar there.
    But anyway, I´m going to try.
    Because our children don´t like applesauce but they love jelly :)
    I have fed my piggs with apples, but this is better use :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I think I might know what you are doing wrong. I was looking at your pictures of making the jelly, and it looks like you are cutting out the cores. The core is where the pectin is. If you are not cooking the core too, it won’t gel. :)

  • Kotiäiti said:

    Oh, thank you so much!!
    I didn´t understand that :D, my english isn´t so good :D
    I´m so happy that I´m so lazy!! Coz today I didn´t cut the cores away :) Just because I took the easy way :)
    My Jellys are now outside cooling :)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I hope it works better for you this time :)

  • Rebecca said:

    Hi, I know everyone was commenting about a year ago, but I thought I would add my two cents in case anyone else comes across this blog like I did in a search for apple jelly. You can use less sugar in apple jelly, but you have to add more store bought pectin. Use the kind that is low or no sugar so it won’t add sweetness itself. Thanks!

  • The Well-Rounded Mama said:

    If you want to use less sugar in your jelly, try Pomona Pectin. It’s a low-methoxyl pectin so it doesn’t need sugar to set the jell.

    Pomona pectin does have an extra step in the process, which is a bit of a learning curve when all you’ve ever worked with are traditional pectins. However, it’s really not hard to do once you get used to it.

    The big advantage of Pomona Pectin is that you can adjust sugar content at will without it affecting the set. For folks who don’t like the high sugar content of some jams and jellies for health or taste reasons, that’s really great.

    Another advantage is that it lasts year to year very well, unlike high methoxyl pectins (like Sure-Jell in the yellow box, Certo liquid, etc.). Also, the recipes can be doubled or tweaked without affecting the jell.

    Pomona can be harder to find, but you can buy it through Amazon.com or through AzureStandard.com. Health food stores will probably also have it. You can read more about the different types of pectin on my blog here:


    The blog is mostly about childbirth-related issues, but I have an interest in canning and gardening and emergency preparedness so once in a while I blog about that too.

  • alexandra said:

    Apple seeds are very poisonous. research it if you will

  • Amanda said:

    Hey! I was wondering if you would be able to substitute the sugar for honey or a more natural sweetener?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    You can, actually. If you don’t mind using pectin, Ball has come out with a pectin that works well with alternative sweeteners and honey :)

  • Anonymous said:

    Love this! I love to see the thick applesauce after the juice is strained out. Looking forward to trying with my new Victorio strainer. I got a workout with the raw tomatoes

  • Tiffany said:

    Don’t have cheese cloth what else can I used to strain the liquid out of the apples to make the jelly

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Tiffany, if you have a thin cloth, like a bed sheet or something similar, that would work, but it will take a while for the juices to seep through.

  • Nicole said:

    I was wondering since i don’t have a food strainer if i can peel and core the apples before hand and add the peels and cores to the pot as well. then seperate them afterwards in place of the strainer.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    Once everything cooks down, it will be nearly impossible to try to separate peals, skins, and seeds by hand. I would suggest that you peel and core the apples, and cook the apples down for applesauce. You can smash them up with a potato masher, or use a stick blender to puree the sauce. Then separately, cook the peels and cores for a batch of apple jelly. Here’s a tutorial on making apple jelly from peels and cores: http://ayearwithoutgroceries.blogspot.com/2011/11/got-apple-cores-and-peels-make-jelly.html

    Let me know if you need more help! :)

  • Jaci said:

    I’m ordering a case of organic pears from my local co-op this week….36# for $28!!!So I’m hoping and thinking that this recipe will work the same way for pear sauce and pear jelly?!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Absolutely, Jaci!!! Have fun with it! Just remember that you’ll have to add pectin to the pear jelly to make it set up, as it doesn’t have the natural pectin that apples have. :)

  • Elswith Petrakovic said:

    I use a similar system to make jelly and apple butter. Hang the cooked apples in a jelly bad to drip overnight, then put the contents of the bad through a food mill. Very thick and cuts the cooking time for apple butter by more than half. Jelly is made from the juice, as per established recipes.

  • Jen said:


    I make applesauce in the crock pot. We don’t eat wheat or grains so we don’t need the jelly (although it does look fabulous!). I have never canned before, so I was wondering if I could can my crockpot sauce? I have no idea how this works!

    Thank you!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    You can absolutely use the crockpot applesauce to can! You’ll need to bring the applesauce up to a boil before ladling it into hot, sterilized jars. Then put sterilized lids on the jars, and process them in a water bath canner for 20 min.

  • Amanda said:

    Totally did this last month with apple butter and apple jelly. It made the most yummy jelly EVER!

  • Mona said:

    Hey I tried this today! It was my first ever canning experience. I had your recipe and a canning how to book. The I ended up buying pectin cause I peeled/cored/sliced my apples. It turned out great! My kids love all things apple. I ended up with 4 half pints of jelly and 8 half pints of sauce! And some left over that we are warm! Thank you!!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Yay!!!! Great job, Mona!! Welcome to the world of canning :)

  • Mona said:

    I made this again today. But I modified it to make a no sugar jelly for my mother in law. She is diabetic and there is no apple jelly at Kroger that she can have. So I followed the steps but I used the Ball No Sugar pectin and Splenda. It turned out great. I’m not a fan of the Splenda taste but I read that it’s one of the few artificial sweeteners that is heat stable. (?) I made the sauce with just a touch of sugar for my kids to eat. I had less apples this time. Sometimes Kroger has apples that are “blemished and misshapen” so they are super cheap. I got 3 8oz jars of jelly. And 4 pints of sauce. Yum!

    Also I copied out this recipe to add to my family cookbook. Only the best and time tested recipes make it in there! Thanks so much!

  • will said:

    My applesauce always jells up and become a solid mass in the jars. Is there a method to remove more pectin or am I using apples that aren’t ripe enough?


  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    LOL… I have never had that happen. Are you peeling and coring the apples first?

  • Will said:


    Thanks for the quick reply as we are going to pick apples tomorrow. I have been told be many people this never happens to them.

    We do not peel & core as we have the KitchenAid food processor attachment which does a great job removing those parts.

    I have two theories, either the apples are too ripe since we are picking off the trees, or the food processor is not removing the parts the contain the pectin. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to resolve either.

    I am thinking this year we may do a batch where we let the apples start getting a little soft, and another where we chop out the center of the apple.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    I would recommend that you peel and core the apples before running them through the KitchenAid. I would think that would do it. Good luck!

  • Marilyn said:

    Kendra, This is my first attempt at canning. I, too, came across a find. Free pears. Now, what do I do? I assume I wash, but then I get lost in all these ideas. I purchased pint-size Ball jars. Any straight forward information is appreciated. Thank you.

  • Marilyn said:

    I neglected to say that I would like to make pear butter.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    Check out my tutorial on canning pears: http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/09/how-to-can-pears/
    You can also make pear sauce the same way as applesauce :) Enjoy!

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