This week I made some homemade applesauce to avoid the packaging of store bought, and was pleasantly surprised with the results and simplicity. I typically use applesauce in baking such as muffins and loaves to increase the moisture and reduce the oil recipes usually call for to make healthier versions. One of the other reasons I decided to make applesauce from scratch was because every time I purchase applesauce in the 500ml bottle for baking, I ended up throwing most of it away before using it. In an attempt to stop wasting food and cut down on plastic packaging, I made my own that could then be sealed in smaller sized jars. However, the applesauce turned out to be so delicious that I have almost eaten all of it in the last week and have only baked one batch of muffins! I am also not someone who usually just eats applesauce by the spoonful (I do this with peanut butter) … but I couldn’t resist with the homemade version.
The Benefits to Making Applesauce Instead of Buying It
Avoid the packaging of plastic cups and bottles from store bought No preservatives or additives like the store bought applesauce Reduce the amount of sugar Use your own jars to seal applesauce for later consumption
Packaging Free Applesauce
8 Semi-sweet apples (Fuji is what I used because they were on sale) 1 – 2 tbsp. brown sugar (sourced sustainably/in bulk) ½ – 1 tsp. Cinnamon (sourced sustainably/in bulk) 2 ½ cups of water Juice from half a lemon (optional if you don’t plan to seal your jars) – This will be about 1 – 2 tbsp.
This recipe is made using stove top cooking and pureeing the sauce using a blender or food processor.
First, the time consuming part! Unless you have a really efficient apple peeler, peel, core, and slice the apples by hand. You don’t have to be super precise here, as everything is going to be simmering down and softening over the stove. You can leave the peels on if you are short on time, but it makes the sauce consistency less smooth.
Place the apples and water in a pot on medium to high heat. At first, it may look like you need more water, but don’t add more as the apples let out water as they cook. Once simmering, turn the heat down slightly and stir the apples every 5 minutes or so. If the water starts to exceed the apples, you can scoop water out, however, make sure you keep the apple water in case you need to add it back in later when the water does boil off.
After about 20 minutes of cooking and some of the water has boiled off, add the sugar and cinnamon. Stir or whisk the ingredients together and continue to simmer until most of the water is gone and the apples are soft enough that they are breaking when you whisk the mixture. On my stove, this was 35 minutes.
At this point, turn down the heat and transfer the apples into a blender. Pulse the apples until they are pureed. You can also do this with a potato masher if you don’t have a blender or prefer a lumpier applesauce. Once pureed, return the applesauce to the pot and add in the lemon juice if you plan to can and seal your jars. If you don’t plan on sealing the applesauce into jars, you can just put them in a bowl and let it cool, then refrigerate.
Sealing Your Applesauce
Keep the applesauce hot until your jars are ready. Make sure you have sterilized the jars and seals by boiling them for 15 minutes prior. Dry the jars and immediately pour the applesauce into the hot jars. Place the seals on the jars after wiping the rims clean.
Every four apples worth of this recipe makes one 500ml jars or two smaller 250ml jars. Of course this depends on the size of the apples, but in general this recipe makes 1L of applesauce.
That’s it! Packaging free and delicious applesauce that you will probably end up eating within a few days! It’s great used in baking, on pancakes, or even ice cream!