How-To: Make Unsweetened Applesauce at Home

Ripe Apple“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  “You’re the apple of my eye.”  Oh, apples!  So good on their own, so good in desserts (Salted Caramel Apple Bake, anyone?), so good at breakfast (Cinnamon Apple Pie Overnight Oatmeal), so good in soup (Simple Apple Cinnamon Roasted Squash Soup)…the options are endless.  And after all of that shameless self-promotion, what about applesauce?  Well, as you know, I’ve been loving my Vitamix high-speed blender and one of their first recipes I checked out was for Cooked Applesauce.  It’s seriously JUST APPLES.  And any regular jug blender or food processor should do the trick – I’ll show you how in this “How-To” and you can enjoy healthy, homemade applesauce, free of added sugar or preservatives, any time, either as a snack or as an ingredient in a recipe.  No need to go to the store!

Every summer in my childhood, my family would visit my grandmother on her farm property in rural New Brunswick (a province in Canada, in case you didn’t know).  And while it wasn’t a working farm any longer, it still boasted a few apple trees that kept my grandmother well-stocked for apple dishes beyond imagining!  One of the things we looked forward to the most was her homemade cooked applesauce.  Sweet and smooth, she would make batches big enough to be stored in plastic 4L ice cream tubs.  And our favourite way to eat was served warm over a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (hey, someone had to empty those tubs so they could be re-used!).

As I got older, we started stocking pre-packaged Mott’s unsweetened apple snacks – conveniently pre-packaged servings of unsweetened applesauce.  They were great for throwing into our lunch bags AND since low-fat baking was all the rage, I started seeing more and more recipes calling for unsweetened applesauce to substitute at least part, if not all of the fat in the recipe.  This substitution works particularly well for white cakes and quick breads, not so well for cookies.  I recommend pureed prunes – baby food prunes come in convenient 125mL = 1/2 cup servings – for chocolate cakes and dark quick breads.  Now that I know how incredibly quick and easy it is to make healthy applesauce at home, I can’t believe all the money (and time!) I could have saved.  Better late than never!

This is NOT my recipe BUT the one tweak I have made (and would recommend) is to NOT peel the apples.  Wash them and leave them UNPEELED.  Much of an apple’s fiber is in its skin and nutrients are also concentrated here.  Blenders (the Vitamix especially) are strong enough to chop and blend the skin so finely that you won’t even notice it in the finished product.  It also enhances the binding properties of the applesauce, which is one of the reasons it works so well in baked goods.

Vitamix Cooked Applesauce

Some process shots:

Start with a fresh, ripe apple and wash it well.

Start with a fresh, ripe apple (up to four apples, depending on the size of your blender) and wash it (them) well.

Core and slice the apple - no need to peel it!

Core and slice the apples – no need to peel them!

Add the apple slices to a pot of boiling water and simmer for ~15 minutes, until apples are fork-tender (can be easily pierced with a fork but not mushy).

Add the apple slices to a pot of boiling water and simmer for ~15 minutes, until apples are fork-tender (can be easily pierced with a fork but not mushy).

Drain the apples and carefully pour into a jug blender - be mindful of the hot steam!

Drain the apples and carefully pour into a jug blender – be mindful of the hot steam!

With the blender lid firmly secured to avoid splashing any hot liquid, process at medium speed until desired consistency.  Do not over-process.

With the blender lid firmly secured to avoid splashing any hot liquid, process at medium speed until desired consistency. Do not over-process.

Store in a resealable container in the fridge.  No sweeteners or seasonings needed!

Store in a resealable container in the fridge. No sweeteners or seasonings needed!

You may also like:

Quick Cottage Cheese

How-To: Make Cottage Cheese at Home
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5 thoughts on “How-To: Make Unsweetened Applesauce at Home

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