A popular fruit, apples are packed full with health benefits. Not only are they high in vitamin C, but they also contain antioxidants that are required for many of the body’s important functions. Incredibly versatile, the fruit can be eaten in many different ways- from being cut into slices to being made into the fillings of a pie. On this particular page however, we will be focusing on applesauce.
What is Applesauce?
As its name suggests, applesauce is a type of sauce that is made from pureeing apples. Widely used in North America, it is generally sweetened with agents such as honey or sugar. In some cases, it is also flavored with spices such as allspice and cinnamon.
The Benefits of Applesauce
Considering the health benefits of apples, it’s not surprising to know that most of the fruit’s nutrition is retained with the sauce. Having preserved all the benefits of the apple, it’s packed with vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants. According to some studies, the dish can also be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease. Below, we’ll be going over some of its most important benefits.
Applesauce can improve your digestion: Due to its high content of insoluble flavour (assuming that you’ve left the peel on in the making of the sauce), it promotes healthy intestinal transit and bowel movements. Because of this, the dish is often recommended for those who are experiencing constipation.
Applesauce can help to restore appetite: Easy to digest, applesauce is often recommended for those who are recovering from illness. Due to its soft consistency, the elderly can also eat and swallow applesauce with ease.
Applesauce can be used to satisfy hunger: Don’t be followed by its appearance- the dish can easily fill you up. For instance, one cup of unsweetened applesauce contains 100 calories; that’s enough to keep the hunger pangs away.
Applesauce is low in calories: A healthy, low-calorie snack, applesauce as mentioned earlier, only contains 100 calories per cup (assuming the sauce is unsweetened). Adding to that, natural applesauce also contains no fat, which makes it an ideal dish for those who like to watch their calories.
Applesauce can be used as an alternative to butter/oil in baking: For those who are health conscious but like to bake, it can be used as a healthy alternative to butter/oil, something that is often called for in recipes. For those who are wondering why this is, it’s due to the fact that applesauce contains pectin- something that inhibits gluten formation during the baking process.
Things to Keep in Mind About Applesauce
As healthy as applesauce can be however, ultimately, its nutrition depends on how it was prepared. For instance, if it was sweetened with sugar, it would obviously pack more calories per serving. Generally speaking, homemade applesauce is the healthiest kind of applesauce that you can make. Let’s take a look at the differences between homemade and commercially made applesauce.
– Often made without the apple peel, a source of healthy fiber and phtochemicals
– Sweetened products often come with tons of sugar
– Can be expensive
– Can be made fresh to go
– The quality of the sauce can easily be controlled
– Easy to make and delicious
How is Applesauce made?
A popular dish for young children, applesauce can easily be prepared fresh in under 20 minutes. Ultimately, it is made by cooking unpeeled apples with liquid such as water (apple cider can also be used, depending on preference) over high heat. As the fruit cooks, it will tenderize. From there, all that’s left is to mash the fruit to the preferred consistency.
How to Make Applesauce with an Instant Pot
While some choose to make applesauce on the stove top, the dish can also be easily made using an Instant Pot. That’s right- you can easily prepare the sauce with the press of a few buttons. If you already own the multi-cooker, why not give it a try? Below, we’ll be outlining the necessary steps.
– 4-8 large apples (popular choices include Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, etc).
Note: Use more acidic apples (e.g. Bramleys) if you prefer a finer puree
– 1 cup of water
– 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for flavouring (optional)
– 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1.) After rinsing the apples, carefully cut them into medium-large chunks. For maximum fiber, it is recommended to leave the skin on (though you may peel them if you wish). Make sure to discard the seeds, stem, and core.
2.) Place the apple chunks into the inner pot, along with a cup of water. Adding a teaspoon of lemon zest will help to slow down oxidation. If desired, one teaspoon of cinnamon can be added for additional flavour.
3.) Close the lid of the Instant Pot, making sure the steam vent is sealed. Using manual mode, you want to set the cooker for 7 to 8 minutes under high pressure.
Note: If you prefer a chunkier applesauce, go for 7 minutes
4.) Enjoy the day for the next 7 to 8 minutes
5.) Once the cooking is down, let the Instant Pot sit for a couple of minutes before manually releasing the steam. Once the steam has dissipated, you can open the lid.
6.) In the case that there is excess water in the applesauce, drain and remove
7.) Now that the apples are cooked, they will be incredibly tender. Next, you’ll want to mash the fruit for your desired consistency. If you’re going for smooth applesauce, it may be easier to use an immersion blender (simply use it in the Instant Pot).
8.) Scoop out the applesauce and place it into containers such as Mason jars. Done!
Tip: If you added cinnamon and lemon to your applesauce, chances are, it will taste better the next day. Allowing it to chill overnight in the fridge will allow the two to soak into the apples more.
Tip 2: Assuming that the applesauce is stored in an airtight container, it can be kept for one week in the refrigerator. In the freezer, it can be kept for up to a few months.
Note: As you can probably tell, the recipe above is for unsweetened applesauce. If you want to sweeten the dish, simply add sugar and or honey to the apples at the beginning.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
For the best homemade applesauce, try to avoid making the following common mistakes:
Leaving the seeds in: Did you know that apple seeds are tannic? That is, it has an astringent taste due to its tannin content. If you forget to take the seeds out, your applesauce may end up having a slightly bitter flavor.
Overcooking the apples: When apples are overcooked, they lose their flavour rapidly. Luckily, if you’re making the sauce with an Instant Pot, setting it for 7-8 minutes tends to cook it perfectly (so you won’t have to worry about this issue!).
Using the wrong type of sweetener: If you want to make sweetened applesauce, brown sugar is preferred to white granulated sugar.
General Applesauce FAQ’s
Why are there bubbles in my jar of applesauce?
If your applesauce is bubbling, it has probably fermented- that is, it may contain harmful bacteria, or in some cases- even mold. For safety concerns, you’ll want to discard the sauce (fortunately for us, it’s easy to re-make!).
Why is my applesauce brown?
The reason that applesauce turns brown is because the fruit itself tends to oxidize when exposed to air. To prevent this, you can choose to add a little bit of lemon zest. Having said that, brown applesauce is perfectly safe to eat!
Why did my applesauce separate?
Don’t worry, this is common. To prevent separation from happening, you’ll want to cook it slower. Still, it’s perfectly safe to eat- simply stir to mix the sauce.
Why is my applesauce pink?
The pink color that you see is most likely from the color of the apple peel. All that means is that you’ll be getting more fiber per serving!