How to Make Homemade Applesauce and a Giveaway

We have a guest blogger today: Melissa Norris. She’s prepared a tutorial on how to make your own applesauce, as well as a fun idea and recipe on how to turn it into a homemade Christmas gift! Be sure to read to the end of the post for a special offer for just my readers and a chance to win Melissa’s book, Pioneering Today–Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way



Melissa K. Norris

I’ve been a fan of Cindy’s books and blog since I discovered her a year ago. I’ve always felt drawn to the Amish lifestyle. As a lifelong gardener, canner, and modern homesteader, I try to implement as much from the Amish lifestyle into my family as I can.

I also admire their faith. As a Christian, I do feel the pull of our mainstream society draining at times. When I’m out in nature, away from the man-made things of this world, I feel closer to God. I can hear His voice as I pull weeds and walk amongst the beautiful towering evergreens outside my home in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State.

While I’m not going to uproot my family and become Amish, I can visit them in books, and hopefully one day in person. I want to bring the best of their lifestyle into mine—and yours!

I’m thrilled Cindy is graciously allowing me to share with one lucky winner a copy of my new book Pioneering Today–Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way. The details for this giveaway are listed at the end of this post.


Homemade Applesauce Tutorial

We try to eat things seasonally, whether we grow them ourselves, or buy them from the store. Luckily, my neighbor shared her abundant apple crop as my orchard is too young to produce yet. Making applesauce is really easy and doesn’t require a pressure cooker canner (though I use mine) as apples are an acidic food and can be safely canned via a hot water bath method.

If you have a sieve or food mill, you can make apple sauce without ever touching a knife. (If you don’t have a sieve or food mill, you’ll need to cut, peel, and core your apples.) Put your whole apples in a pot with about a half inch of water, just enough to keep apples from scorching.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for about a half hour or until apples have split their skin and are soft all the way through. (If you’ve chopped your apples, it will only take about 15 minutes simmering.) Keep an eye on your apples; they will scorch if cooked too long.

Allow to cool slightly, then ladle the apples into your food mill or sieve and process. Take applesauce and put back in a large pot. Taste. If using Gravenstein apples, I don’t add any sugar or spices. My parent’s tree didn’t produce much this year and my neighbor’s apples were a bit tart.

I added a 2/3 cup sugar to 9 cups of applesauce. You can use brown or white sugar. If you like cinnamon, start with a teaspoon and increase to your preference. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. (It only takes a few minutes.) Pack hot into jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. (For those of you new to canning, I have a complete beginner’s guide to canning here) Adjust lids and process. If using a water bath method, process for 10 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, process at 5 pounds of pressure for 8 minutes.


Here’s a great recipe for any time of year, but it will make a perfect homemade Christmas gift paired with a jar of the applesauce that you now know how to make. Write the recipe on a card with the jar or add a prepared cake as part of the gift.

Pumpkin Applesauce Cake with a Buttermilk Glaze

4 eggs
1 and ½ cups sugar
¾ cup applesauce
¼ cup oil
2 cups cooked pumpkin or 15 ounce canned pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, and pumpkin. Beat by hand until light and fluffy (or use an electric mixer).

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.

Spread evenly in a 9×13 pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Buttermilk Glaze

1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup buttermilk (Don’t substitute regular milk. If you don’t have buttermilk, add ¼ Tablespoon lemon juice and allow to sit for a minute.)
¼ cup butter

Combine ingredients in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 5 minutes. Watch carefully; once it reaches a boil it will boil over very easy. I turned my heat down to medium low and allowed to simmer, occasionally stirring.

Remove from heat and add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Poke holes in top of cake with a toothpick and pour glaze over still warm cake.


For more Christmas ideas, head over to Melissa’s blog for her Pioneer Homemade Christmas 7 week series beginning November 7th.

Melissa K. Norris is a Christian novelist, newspaper columnist, and non-fiction writer. Her stories inspire people to draw closer to God and their pioneer roots. She found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. She writes a monthly column, Pioneering Today, for the local newspaper that bridges her love of the past with its usefulness in modern life. Her books and articles are inspired by her family’s small herd of beef cattle, her amateur barrel racing days, and her forays into quilting and canning—without always reading the directions first.


Special offer for Cindy’s readers. Anyone who purchases a copy of Pioneering Today and forwards Melissa their proof of purchase email from Amazon to, will receive a free “secret recipe” postcard and a link to a bonus chapter on Dutch oven cooking. Offer expires on November 13, 2012. Be sure to note you’re from Cindy’s blog.



If you would like to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Pioneering Today–Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post on my website.

If you are reading this anywhere other than my website, such as on Facebook, in an email, or on Goodreads, please hop on over to my website by clicking here: and leave a comment at the bottom of my post to enter the giveaway. Only comments left on my website will be entered into the giveaway. (It’s just too hard to track down all the comments left in various places, and that means it’s too easy to miss some of the comments.)

The deadline for this contest is November 9, 2012, at noon (EST). The winner will be chosen using and will be contacted privately, as well as announced on next week’s post.


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