In my efforts to stick to more seasonal foods this winter I’ve made my daughter sick of eating fresh apples (they are one of the few seasonal fruits available in BC this time of year), so I have had to get creative and come up with other ways to serve them. Her current favourite is homemade applesauce.
Applesauce is not just for kids or hospital patients. It’s a great snack for adults too, and can be added into oatmeal or baked goods for added flavour and nutrients (like fibre). It does a great job of keeping baked goods moist as well.
There is NO comparison between the taste of homemade and store-bought applesauce – I was never a fan of applesauce until I started making my own and now I’m addicted to it!
While store-bought applesauce is made with peeled apples and refined sugar, I leave the skin on to retain as many nutrients as possible and don’t add any sugar either, making it healthier. Leaving the apples unpeeled is also sooo much easier – peeling all those apples would take forever!
If you’re concerned that applesauce is lacking in nutrients compared to raw apples, rest assured that it still packs a pretty good nutritional punch. The difference in polyphenol content between raw apples and applesauce is minimal, and the total fibre content is about the same, although the act of cooking apples turns some of the insoluble fibre into soluble fibre, which is the kind that lowers cholesterol and feeds your gut bugs so that may not be a bad thing. Of course cooking any fruit or vegetable lowers it’s vitamin C content, but you can retain more of this important vitamin by keeping the water that the apples are cooked in and blending it into the final product, and in my recipe below I add fresh lemon juice which will also add vitamin C.
There are benefits to eating both cooked and raw fruits and vegetables, the key is to eat both to get a variety of nutrients. And if your taste buds are no longer a fan of raw apples, you’ll be getting more nutrients eating them cooked than not eating them at all.
So if you’re getting sick of eating fresh apples this winter, mix things up by making applesauce!
12-14 organic apples (any of the sweeter red-skinned varieties will do – I use ambrosia)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Juice of 1 large lemon
1. Wash, core, and slice all of the apples (I soak them in a mixture of 1 part ACV and 3 parts water first to remove any wax residue).
2. Place in a large pot with the water and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 mins, covered, until the peels are soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.
3. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 mins and add the lemon juice. Use an immersion blender to purée to your desired consistency (I prefer a creamy smooth applesauce but a chunkier texture may be your preference). If you don’t have an immersion blender you can also scoop the cooked apples and remaining liquid into a regular blender.