It’s fall and apples are in season. What better way to put those delicious apples to use than some healthy homemade applesauce? This healthy applesauce recipe is easy to make, delicious, and makes a great snack for your kids or yourself!
Why Make Homemake Applesauce
I love helping people create a healthier home and life, and one of the biggest things you can do for your health is to improve your nutrition. I don’t count calories or stick to any specific diet. But what I do to stay healthy is eat real, whole, nutrient-dense foods. I’m all about eating foods as close to their natural state as possible so that I can get the most nutrition out of them.
Anytime a food is highly processed, nutrients are taken out of it and usually unhealthy ingredients like sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors are added to it. Read this post for more about processed foods and how to cut them out.
This healthy applesauce is as real whole food as you can get. We’re using the whole apple (minus the core) and doing a little processing ourselves. That way we can control what goes in it.
Applesauce you buy in stores can contain high fructose corn syrup which is an ingredient you definitely want to stay away from. This healthy applesauce recipe uses a natural sweetener that actually has nutritional benefits – honey!. But if you want to leave yours unsweetened, you can definitely leave it out.
Another great thing about making homemade applesauce is that you can control the flavor. You can add other fruits, cinnamon, vanilla, or whatever flavors your family prefers. We like ours more traditional and perfect for the fall with some cinnamon and vanilla!
Best Apples to Use for Applesauce
You can use ANY type of apples you want to make applesauce. But some are softer and produce more liquid than others. Some are sweetener and some are more sour. Use whatever apples you prefer the flavor of most.
I got my apples from a little produce stand that had tons of different varieties of apples. I asked the lady who worked there which kind were the best to use for applesauce. She recommended Golden Delicious apples since they’re softer and more on the sour side. But they’re not as sour as Granny Smith. Jonagold and Cortland apples are other great options.
If you use a sweeter apple, you can always add lemon juice to make your applesauce more acidic and balance out the flavors.
In this recipe I’m using 17 Golden Delicious Apples and 1 Fuji apple to make it a little sweeter.
Watch how to make this healthy homemade applesauce here!
Healthy Applesauce Recipe
What You’ll Need
- 10 lbs or about 18 apples
- 1 Cup water
- 1 lemon (optional)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup honey (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
What to Do
Prep the Apples
The first thing you need to do is wash your apples.
Then core and slice the apples. We just use a normal apple slicer to slice the apples and then we chop them in half to make smaller pieces so it will cook faster.
I know some people like to peel their apples for their applesauce. But we don’t do that. I actually like the peel in my applesauce. It makes it chunkier and I love chunky applesauce.
Also – the skin is where the most nutrients are in the apple. That color in the skin is where all the antioxidants are, including Quercetin which is great for allergies and reducing inflammation. The skin also contains the most fiber, which helps to balance your blood sugar, helps digestion, and so many other things. So leaving the skin on is one way you can make your applesauce healthier.
Cook the Apples
You can cook the applesauce in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or on the stove top – whichever method is most convenient for you. I prefer the stove top method because it cooks quickly, but I still have control over it. I can add more of an ingredient if I need to and I can stir it every once in a while. With an Instant Pot you aren’t able to stir it or tell if it’s burning.
So, to make stovetop applesauce, add your apples to a large pot. I use my Dutch Oven, and it works perfectly! Add to it 1 Cup water (to keep the apples from burning), the juice of 1 lemon (if you want it to be more acidic), 1/2 Cup honey (to sweeten it – leave out if you prefer it unsweetened), 1 tsp vanilla, and 2 cinnamon sticks.
Turn the heat on high to get the water boiling. Then turn it down to Medium Low and let the apples simmer for about 45 minutes (or until the apples are nice and soft)
Check on it every once in a while and give it a stir to prevent burning and to make sure the apples cook evenly.
Blend the Applesauce
After the apples have cooked, use an Immersion blender to blend up the applesauce and make it more saucy. If you prefer your applesauce chunkier, use the immersion blender for less time, or you can use a potato masher to mash the apples to your desired consistency.
Finally, add the rest of the spices – ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg to add that delicious fall flavor. If you prefer your applesauce plain, leave the spices out.
That’s it! Simple and healthy applesauce! This recipe makes plenty to have for snacks for a few weeks for my family. When I make this, I keep a container in the fridge for the week and store the rest in the freezer to eat later. Another great, customizable thing about applesauce is you can eat it how you want it – warmed up, cold, used in recipes as a replacement for oil, as a spread on toast, mixed in with yogurt, whatever your heart desires!
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you make it and what you think!