Your grocery aisle applesauce seems like a super healthy choice for you and your kids, right? Not necessarily. Turn to the nutrition label and your jaw may hit the floor when you look at how much sugar is in each serving. It’s crazy!

A good solution though is homemade applesauce. It’s a great beginner recipe to start your canning journey and there are so many possibilities to customize to your family’s flavor preferences. Not only this, but the sugar in my recipes is purely for flavor, so you can play a little with this to make it just right. My bonus chapter to The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning, Pressure Canning Fruits, includes FOUR different recipes including blueberry, strawberry, cinnamon, and pear. (You can also go for classic, if that’s your style!) In each, I recommend using either Golden Delicious or Fuji apples. They are naturally sweet, necessitating less additional sugar. To help you decide which you’d like to use if you don’t already have a favorite, we can cover a couple of the basic facts of each.

Golden Delicious apples are one of the greatest apple varieties, wildly popular, and exceptionally sweet. However, they also require careful handling, as they tend to bruise and shrivel easily. They also tend to be picked too early, so if you have the opportunity to get them locally, this is going to be the sweetest option. So much so, you might feel like you’re eating straight sugar, which makes it perfect for desserts, applesauce, or to counteract certain savory salads.

Fuji apples, for starters, are just beautiful. It’s crazy they don’t have the marketing efforts behind them as newer apple varieties do, because WOW! They have a pale pink speckled exterior that feels smooth and clean and a crisp, white interior that snaps when you bite into it. Mmm! And its flavor is a spicy crispness that just gets BETTER with age.

Maybe you’ll have to play with the two varieties to taste the two and decide what you like best. What’s nice is that these apples are typically available year round. Unlike others, which are only available in certain months of the year. For example, Paula Reds and Gingergolds are early season apples and have more tart tones, while apples like Granny Smith are most ripe mid-to-late October. While those varieties are another topic, they are so fun to explore! Each is unique and in it’s own way delicious. If you try something new and feel like you’d like to share, feel free to post pictures on my Facebook Page or tag me @canningdiva when posting yours! I love seeing your creativity!

Use this handy flavor guide to choose the right apple for you this fall picking season!

Happy Canning!

Diane, The Canning Diva®