Big Batch Applesauce

Choose your favorite kind of apples, since nearly any kind will do. You’ll adjust the sweetness at the end. Leaving the peels on will change the texture, flavor and sometimes the color (red ones will) of the sauce. This is entirely a matter of personal taste.
September 01, 2007


Place the apples in a large, heavy-bottomed kettle or stockpot, with enough water so that they won’t stick to the bottom while cooking. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

When apples are tender, remove to one or more large cookie sheets until cool enough to handle.

For a chunky sauce, use a fork or potato masher to achieve desired consistency. For a smooth sauce, pass the apples through a food mill. Sweeten to desired level after mashing.

To can applesauce, pack in hot jars to 1/4 inch from the top. Process in pints or quarts for 25 minutes in a boiling water bath.

About this recipe

The Story: APPLES

Iowa was once the second largest apple producer in the country, not behind Washington but behind Michigan. The ubiquitous Red Delicious apple was originally called the Hawkeye, and was developed in the late 1800s by Madison County farmer Jesse Hiatt. He sold the rights to the Stark Brothers Fruit Company of Missouri, which propagated cuttings from the original tree near Peru, Iowa, and hybridized it out of all resemblance to it’s origins. Today, Red Delicious apples found in grocery stores are bred for appearance and durability, not flavor.

This recipe first appeared in EIRV #1. It’s the apple sauce recipe used by Joyce Wilson of Wilson’s Orchard near Iowa City.

Treasures like Wilson’s Orchard, and the other orchards around the state, will survive only so long as there is demand for their luscious products. Buying more and preserving the excess is a good way to support the artisan-orchardists of Iowa, while also getting lots of tasty treats for your family.

Recipe courtesy of Joyce Wilson

Wilson’s Orchard
2924 Orchard Lane NE (On Highway 1, 2.2 miles north of I-80)
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 354-5651
Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., August, September and October


  • 1/2 bushel apples, peeled (if desired), quartered and cored
  • 2 quarts (or so) water
  • Sugar to taste, perhaps as much as 4–6 cups, depending on your taste and the type of apple.
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