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Apple Sauce

Now, you are asking yourselves, “Why bother making apple sauce? I can buy apple sauce.” That’s true. But making apple sauce is as easy as falling off the proverbial log and this way, you know what’s going into it. If you are a package or jar label reader (and most of us are NOT), and you are looking at what is probably America’s number one basic apple sauce in a jar, you will see this:
Serving Size: 1 cup (113g)
Servings: 6
Amount per serving: 90 Calories
Contents Amount % Daily Value
Total fat 0 mg 0%
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Potassium 70 mg 2%
Total Carb 24 g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1 g 4%
Soluble Fiber 1 g
Sugars 22 g
Protein 0 g

And if you look at the ingredients list, you will see that whoops, the apple sauce has been given a boost of some stuff that perhaps you are not interested in seeing – the top sweeteners in commercial apple sauce are corn syrup (which actually has the added ‘commercial processing benefit’ that the corn syrup merges with the pectin in the apples and produces a thicker sauce which means that the commercial processors get a ‘twofer’ for using it – cheap sweetener and thickener all in one) or sucralose, which actually is the active sweetening ingredient in…aspartame (which I’m not sure we want to be eating or giving to our kids, n’ok?).

Also, let’s look at the sugars up there: 22 grams in a serving. As a point of comparison, a 12 ounce can of Coke™ has 40 grams of sugar. I’m not making any value judgments here; just a point of comparison. Now, part of the reason is the added sweeteners, and the other part of the reason is that it actually takes much more than one apple to produce a cup of apple sauce. A four ounce apple (what I’m holding in my hand – I actually weighed this and it weighs just north of 4 ounces – 123 grams. The metal measuring tape will give you a good idea of just how big this thing is – your hand size might vary) has 13 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. Now, if it takes a lot more than one apple to make a cup of apple sauce (I’m going to estimate that it would take 3-4 apples, actually), what happened to all the fiber?

Well, first of all, that 3 grams of fiber in the 4 ounce apple also includes eating the peel, which has a lot of fiber in it. The second thing is that cooking actually reduces fiber; heat breaks it down. On the one hand, this makes vegetable matter a lot more digestible and therefore makes the nutrients more available to us (since we are not herbivores), but on the other hand, it reduces the amount of fiber (and, repeat after me, “Fiber is good”).

But, I digress. Back to apple sauce. If you want to eat apple sauce that doesn’t have a whole bunch of stuff in it that is NOT apples, then you are going to want to produce your own apple sauce, which requires two things: cleaned cored apples and some form of heat.

That’s it. Now, if you don’t want to have to mess with putting the stuff through a food mill to get the skins out (and this is actually not a bad idea since there is a lot of good stuff in and just under the peels of apples), you’ll want to peel them and then core them, but we’re still talking a one-ingredient item.

Now, how you apply heat to this is your choice. Today, because I had to run a bunch of errands, I loaded up my two crock pots, turned the chunked up apples on low and left the house. Two hours later I came home, having dried a load of laundry (long story for another time) at the Laundromat, stopped at the grocery store and the farmers market and found, voila the apple sauce basically all done.

Now, I have a couple of options at this point:
Let it cool down and put it into containers in the fridge for immediate use.
Let it cool down and put it into containers in the freezer for long term storage.
Keep it hot, clean and heat up jars, lids and bands, put it into the jars, seal and process according to appropriate directions.

Now, I happen to like to have frozen apple sauce around to bake with. It’s easy enough to store – I put it into ziplock™ bags, flatten to get out all the extra air, and store the bags in a pile in the freezer but everyone to their choice. It will not stay ‘good’ in the fridge indefinitely and frankly, no one wants to have to throw out 2/3 of a jar of apple sauce that has gone moldy. So, my advice, sincerely, is to either process everything or put one smallish container in the fridge and freeze the rest in appropriate sized packages (again, a cup or two in a sealed bag is enough for most baking recipes that call for apple sauce.

And remember – all you get with this is apples. Period.

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3 Comments

  1. Ernestine Ranson says:

    Hi,

    I love homemade applesauce. The heat I apply is the microwave. Put the apples in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and give it about 5 min. more or less, depending on variables. I usually just mash with a potato masher and keep it on the chunky side. Easy and delicious.

  2. htwollin says:

    Hey, Ernestine! Thanks for the idea — I usually am working with such a huge amount of apples (and in this case, my son’s eyes were much larger than his brain when it came to picking Macs. This morning, he realized that if we did not do something with those apples, they were going to go bad before he could eat them all) that microwave-size batches were not on the schedule, but it’s a great idea, especially for someone who lives on their own or has a small family. Great stuff!

  3. Jean C. says:

    Hi…. just hopped over from another blog… Stitches and Seams. Anyway… we (as in me/I) make chunky apple sauce… it’s wonderful to toss into a large bowl and top with a mixture of brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon and oh yeah… a bit of butter… to make apple crisp! It’s not Fall with out it! Or Winter either for that matter. My in-laws have a huge… and that is an understatement… red delis. apple tree… so far this year we’ve gotten around 12 bushels off of it! And there were still tons left on it. We add a tad bit…. say 1 cup of sugar to enough apples to make around 14 quarts of sauce and well… it’s great! The smell is Heaven too! Nothing like apples to make a person want to eat lots of fiber! I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so as kids we ate apples for snacks all the time!
    Good blog…. I’ll be back! (sorry if that’s a scary proposition! LoL)

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