Try this recipe for lemon-scented applesauce, courtesy Chef Elissa Rubin-Mahon of Relish Culinary Adventures in Sonoma County, California. Rubin-Mahon likes Gravenstein apples, an early heirloom variety, for their texture and rich, bright flavor.
Ingredients and materials:
4 canning jars (regular mouth), clean with no chips or cracks
Large covered pot, with a canning rack in the bottom
4 canning lids and new seals
6 pounds Gravenstein, Jonathan or golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
Two 1-by-2-inch strips lemon peel
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup organic sugar (optional, to taste)
To prepare jars:
1. Place jars on rack in kettle big enough to cover filled jars with 1 inch water.
2. Fill jars and kettle 2⁄3 full with hot water. Cover kettle and bring to a boil.
3. Turn off heat and keep covered until ready to use. Jars should be hot when filled.
4. If reusing jar rings, wash and rinse well. Lids must be new for a proper seal.
5. Cover lids with hot water in a small pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute to soften rubber seal. Hold in hot water until ready to use.
To make sauce:
1. Put apples, lemon peel, salt and just enough water to prevent sticking into a large, nonreactive, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
2. When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until apples are tender, 5 to 20 minutes depending on variety. Remove from heat.
3. Remove and set aside lemon peels. Using a potato masher, immersion blender or food mill, break up about half the apple chunks in the pot.
4. Add lemon juice and sugar to taste. Return pot to low heat and bring to a boil.
5. Cut lemon peel strips in half.
1. Remove one jar at a time, pour water back into kettle and place jar on clean towel.
2. Put peel slice in jar. Using funnel, fill jars with applesauce to 1⁄2-inch from rim.
3. Run a stainless steel knife around jar’s interior to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Use tongs to put on hot lid. Screw on ring as tight as you can using your hands.
4. Place filled jar back into kettle. Repeat with all jars. Note: If you’re a bit short, fill jars to top with boiling water. Reduce watered-down sauce by boiling after opening.
5. Fill kettle with hot water to an inch above jar tops and cover kettle. Bring to a rolling boil; cook on high for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow jars to rest in water, covered, for at least 5 minutes to allow pressure to equalize.
6. Remove jars from kettle. Let rest on towel for 4 to 6 hours until completely cool. Label with contents and date. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Makes about 4 pints
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