Apples are a fall staple. Many love slicing them up and pairing them with peanut butter or dipping them in sweet and sticky caramel, and some enjoy apples best when they’re pureed into classic applesauce. The simple snack has so many benefits and purposes. This guide will break down everything you need to know about applesauce from methods and tips for making your own to its uses in everyday cooking.
Applesauce Nutrition And Health Benefits
Calories And Fat
Unsweetened applesauce is relatively low in calories with one cup of applesauce containing around 120 calories. Like plain apples, applesauce contains no fat, making it great for those on a weight loss program. Also, the sugar in unsweetened applesauce is all natural. Steer clear from commercial varieties of applesauce for they contain tons of added sugar.
Applesauce is high in fiber thanks to its pectin content. Fiber is known to keep your digestive system functioning properly. In addition, since it takes a long time to digest fiber, you stay full longer. Therefore, applesauce makes for a great afternoon snack.
Vitamins And Minerals
Applesauce is packed with many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, E, K, B1, B2, and B6, along with potassium, copper, and manganese. These vitamins have been associated with improved energy, bone density, and the immune system. Specifically, a study found that women who ate a meal with apples lost less calcium from their bodies than those who did not.
Apples also contain polyphenols which have antioxidant properties. One of these polyphenols is the flavonoid epicatechin, which helps to lower blood pressure. A study found that high consumption of flavonoids was associated with a lower risk of stroke. Flavonoid can also help prevent heart disease by reducing LDL oxidation.
Making Your Own Applesauce
Making your own applesauce from scratch is easier than you think, as all you need is a couple of ingredients. Whipping up homemade applesauce is even easier if you have a slower cooker. We will show you the many ways to craft your own delicious applesauce.
The best type of apples to use for applesauce are older, softer apples. These apples will cook down faster and cut down on the time you’re in the kitchen. While there are no specific variety of apples you should use, it’s best to use a medley of apples for the best flavor. Some like to use both sweet and tart apples. Tart apples with a hint of sweetness include McIntosh, Gravenstein, and Jonomac. Super sweet varieties include Cortland, Crispin, Fuji, and Golden Delicious. Lastly, some crisp and tangy varieties include Granny Smith, Liberty, and Ida Red.
Peeling And Coring The Apples
Peeling and coring apples are probably the most daunting part about making applesauce. However, there is a simple and easy way:
- Start by taking a Y-shaped peeler and swipe across the top and bottom of the apple to remove the skin. Continue this process for the entire apple.
- After the apple is peeled, stand it upright on a cutting board or flat surface.
- Next, slice off one side, as close to the core as possible.
- Then, slice off another part of the apple, keeping close to the core. Repeat this for the remaining parts.
Slicing The Apples
The size of your apple slices greatly impacts how they are cooked down. Therefore, you want to dice them up in small pieces for smaller slices will cook faster and break down more than larger pieces. It is recommended that you chop up the apple into one-inch chunks. This will result in a smooth and less chunky applesauce.
For classic applesauce, all you will need is a couple of pounds of apples, water, and a dash of lemon juice. Since apples are already sweet and contain natural fructose, you don’t need to add sugar. However, if you wish, you can add extra sugar, cinnamon, and other ingredients. Later, we’ll discuss the many variations of applesauce you can make.
How To Make Applesauce On The Stove
- 3 to 4 lbs of apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- In a large pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil on high heat. Next, add the apples, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice.
- Lower the heat to simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes or until the apples are tender and cooked through.
- Turn off the heat and let the applesauce cool.
- Begin mashing the apples using a potato masher or fork. For smoother applesauce, run the apple mixture through a food mill or purée them with a blender.
- If the applesauce is too thick, add more water.
- If your applesauce is too sweet, add more lemon juice, and if it is not sweet enough, add sugar.
Using Slow Cooker
- Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of the slow cooker and close the lid.
- Cook on high for four hours, making sure to stir a couple of times during this time.
- To make the applesauce smoother, use a blender to purée it.
Using Rice Cooker
- If you don’t have a slow cooker, just use your rice cooker. First, place your ingredients in the bowl of the cooker and set it to the standard “cook” setting–let cook for 30 minutes. Then, remove it from the heat and let cool.
- If you’re pressed on time, you can cook applesauce in a pinch in the microwave. Place the diced apples in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and microwave for four minutes or until softened. Next, transfer the apples to a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
Tips For Cooking Applesauce
- Don’t have any lemon juice? Just substitute it with apple cider vinegar.
- Some like to add a little lemon or orange zest to applesauce
- Spice it up with clove, ginger, or nutmeg. For a more potent flavor, place one or two sticks of whole cinnamon in the pot along with grated ginger or nutmeg.
- If you want to add more sugar to your applesauce, wait until the apples have fully cooked. Why? When cooked, the natural sweetness of the apple intensifies, and you may not need to add as much sugar as initially intended.
Storing And Canning Applesauce
You can preserve store applesauce by refrigerating it or freezing it. When storing in the fridge, applesauce remains fresh for up to one to two months and when storing it properly in the freezer, it keeps fresh for up to two years.
What You’ll Need
- Waterbath Canning Kit
- Mason jars
- Small rubber spatula
- Start by sterilizing your jars. To do this, wash jars with soap and hot water. Then, place the jars on the rack and carefully place it in the water. Next, fill the canning stockpot with water and bring it to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and turn off the heat. Let the jars stand in the hot water. After letting the jars sit in the hot water, remove them. Be sure not to pour out the water just yet.
- When you’re ready to use the jars, invert them onto a kitchen towel and dry.
- Sterilize the lids in boiling hot water for five minutes.
- Fill the jars with applesauce leaving half an inch of headspace. Use a small rubber spatula to scrape down the inside of the jar and remove air bubbles.
- Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth and securely place lid and rings on the jars.
- Place your jars back in the stockpot and bring the water to a boil. Let them sit in the boiling water for 20 minutes.
Tips for Canning
- Adjust the time you let your jars process accordingly based on your altitude. If you live under 1,000 feet in elevation, process the pint jars for 15 minutes for quart jars for 20 minutes. Find more about adjustments here.
- To help prevent leaking, avoid placing the jars in the fridge or freezer immediately after they are done processing. Let the jars cool gradually. Don’t worry if you experience a bit of leaking. No matter how much they leak, your applesauce it safe and ready to store.
- A way to make sure that your lids are on securely it to check the top. Press your finger on the top — if it springs up, then the lid is unsealed. Another way to check the security of the lid is to tap it with the bottom of a teaspoon. You should hear a clear ringing sound, if not, then the lid is not secured.
Fall Variations of Applesauce
You don’t have to stick with the usual ingredients, you are free to spruce up your applesauce any way you see fit. Here are some fall-inspired applesauce recipes to try.
Pumpkin Spice Applesauce
Nothing says for like pumpkin spice. Put a spin on regular applesauce with this recipe. Just combine the following ingredients using any one of the aforementioned cooking methods. The variety of spices and the pumpkin puree make for a truly delicious treat with many flavors.
Caramel apples are a fall favorite for many. Why not enjoy it in the form of applesauce? This caramel applesauce recipe will yield a sweet, mouth-watering applesauce that serves as a great snack or a dip for vegetables, as well as pairing well with various dessert dishes.
Pears are another fruit that is harvested in the Fall. By adding pears to the mix, you can create a wonderful pear applesauce that’s loaded with diverse flavors, without adding tons of sugar or other spices.
Applesauce as an Ingredient
Many don’t know that applesauce can be used as an ingredient in many dishes. In fact, is oftentimes serves as a substitute for butter when combined with oil using a 1:1 ratio of applesauce to butter. This combination is commonly used in vegan cooking for the applesauce adds moisture and the oil richness and texture. Now that you know this hack using applesauce, try crafting a perfectly moist applesauce cake or fluffy applesauce pancakes.