This weekend I traded a farmer at the That’s Natural Chile Festival in Castle Rock, Co. put on by my friend Tisha Casida, for some amazing vegetables and fruit. Nothing more wonderful to open in the dead of winter than a jar of apple pear sauce, and it is so easy to make. Many farmers will sell cases of fruit at a huge discount if they are seconds, which are perfect to can for fruit sauces, and so much healthier and cheaper than commercial sauces.
I washed about one third of a case of pears
and about one third of a case of apples.
My favorite apples to use for applesauce are Red Jonathans, and I do not peel the apples and the applesauce turns out to be an amazing deep shade of pink, but these apples were all they had.
Cut out the core and stem of the apples and pears and place in a large pan over medium heat on the stove and add a little water, so the fruit does not burn. I added two cups for this big pan.
Stir often and cook until the fruit softens. This fruit was not the most flavorful, and though I usually do not add anything except a bit of water to a fruit sauce, this needed a bit more flavor so I added a bit of cinnamon and honey.
Have another large pan of water boiling on the stove and place your mason jars in the water to sterilize them and get them hot. Do not put the lids in until right before you are going to fill the jars.
When the fruit is soft, puree everything in the pan with a stick blender. Put the blended sauce back on the stove and take a jar out of the boiling water, put a funnel on top of the jar and fill the jar with the hot sauce. Place a mason jar lid in the boiling water, then put it on the hot jar of hot sauce and put the ring on the jar and tighten. Continue until you have filled all the jars.
Let the jars cool on your counter and you will hear the lids pop, which means that the air has been removed and the lid has been pulled down creating an airtight seal. If they have cooled and you can still press up and down on the lid, then the seal was not made correctly and it is best to put those jars in the refrigerator and use them within a month or two. Those that sealed well can be stored for many months in a cold room, root cellar or basement. This batch made six quarts. We eat applesauce in the winter with many hot dishes, with lots of beet/horseradish on the side. Update: When finishing both cases of fruit I had 16 quarts of sauce.