Canning has been a part of my life for a long time. Even back when it wasn’t trendy and stylish like it is now. My mom never canned when we were growing up except for the occasional jar of pickles so I’m not really sure why I got the desire to start canning but for whatever reason, I did. Shortly after my marriage I decided that I would try my hand at canning peaches. A friend had found an orchard where we could u-pick for a fairly inexpensive price so off we went. I came home with far too many peaches and no idea how to can them. Opening my handy dandy “Good Housekeeping Cookbook,” I turned to the canning and preserving section.
About five hours, one aching back, and two tired feet later, I begged my husband to help me. He pitched in and together we finished those peaches. It was exhausting but looking at all of those jars of peaches was so satisfying. I was hooked. The next summer, armed with more realistic expectations, I did more peaches and some jam. In the years that followed I added pickles, pears, dilly beans, apple butter, blackberry syrup, apple pie filling, salsa, and many more things. It seems like each year I try something new. Some things work, some don’t, but I’ve found lots of keepers in my experimenting.
One of the best experiments ever was trying “pink applesauce.” One year while picking apples at a local u-pick orchard the lady who owned the orchard asked if we’d ever tried “pick applesauce.” Huh? Um, no, we hadn’t. She said it was easy and her kids loved it. ”When the applesauce is still hot,” she explained, “simply stir in some Red Hots until they melt. They give the applesauce a slight cinnamon flavor while tinting it pink.” Sounded interesting. My kids loved it! We’ve made it that way ever since.
A lot of my canned goods end up as presents. Who doesn’t love a basket of homemade bread and home canned jam, or some home made pink applesauce? Everyone I have given pink applesauce has loved it, especially the kids. For some reason, foods that aren’t their “normal” color appeal to kids. But plenty of adults have given compliments on the pink applesauce.
2 1/2 lbs to 3 1/2 lbs. apples per quart
Red Hots or cinnamon imperials candies
Wash, stem and quarter apples; do not core or peel. Cook apples until soft in a large covered saucepot with just enough water to prevent sticking. Press apples and juice through a sieve or food mill to separate seed and peel from the pulp. Return apple pulp to saucepot. Add 1/4 cup sugar per pound of apples or to taste (if desired), add 1/4 cup or so of Red Hots or cinnamon imperials. Bring applesauce to a boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Seal with lid and ring and process in water bath canner for 20 minutes (pints and quarts). Label with a cute label and enjoy!