There’s a very large crabapple tree in my backyard that produces beautiful red apples in September.Usually, the apples fall to the ground creating a mess that attracts wasp, but this year I broke out the extension ladder and picked about 25 pounds of fruit. Almost getting stuck on my garage roof aside, picking my own tree and turning into preserves that I’ll use over the next several months has been very satisfying!
Crabapples are very high in pectin which resulted in using much more water than regular applesauce recipes call for. I also wanted to make unsweetened sauce, but after tasting my first batch, I decided it’s more palatable to add a sweetener.
By the third batch I had the technique down; it turned out so well, I’m tempted to risk getting stuck on the garage again to pick more apples and make more sauce. This will definitely be something I make in future preserving seasons.
Crabapples – about 1 lb. per pint jar (450 g per 500 mL jar)
Water – enough to cover the crabapples
Sugar – depending on your taste, 1/8 cup to 1 cup per pint jar
Optional addition to each jar:
1 cinnamon stick or
1 whole star anise or
1/2 a vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out and saved for something else
Prepare mason jars and have hot for packing sauce. Have sealable lids ready in hot water.
Rinse apples and trim off stems and bottom. No need to peel or core them.
Bring apples, water and sugar to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring periodically to avoid burning. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples start to become mushy. Mash with a potato masher until it reaches a fairly smooth consistency. You may pass the mixture through a food mill or pack it as is.
Pack in prepared jars (with additions you’d like to make) and process in a water bath as per the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Note: you can also package and freeze the sauce if you have the freezer space.
I’m thinking this sauce will be good for The Best Muffins, served with pork chops or turkey, or reduced and swirled into a cheesecake. There are many possibilities!