These beautiful applesauce blends are a healthy alternative to sugary jams and syrups. Try them mixed into yogurt, smoothies, or oatmeal. Spoon them on top of pancakes or waffles. Use them as a spread on toast, muffins, or bagels. They're versatile, easy to make, and good for you. That's what I call a winner!
In this post, I'm sharing 5 all-natural applesauce flavor blends. Well, one plain ol' applesauce recipe, plus four applesauce fruit & spice blends:
The easy method used is exactly the same for each variety. Each has a distinctive, delicious flavor and color.
These are easier & healthier than most applesauce recipes.
Sources. Thanks to these folks for tips and inspiration:
Great for gifts. I've made some labels you can add to jars of applesauce to add a finishing touch and make them ready to have on hand for gifts. Who wouldn't love a jar of homemade applesauce, especially one or more of these fruity blends? Look for my printable labels further down in the post. This recipe is suitable for water-process canning; so, you can make them ahead for gift giving.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION for 1/2 cup serving: 63 calories, 0g. fat, 2 mg sodium, 16.6g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 12.6g sugars, 0g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1
First I'll show you how to make basic applesauce and then share recipes and tips for making 4 blended flavor varieties. They all use the exact same cooking procedure.
RECIPE LINKS. To skip the photo tutorial and go straight to the recipes, click on these links:
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients for basic applesauce (all of the flavor varieties begin with these ingredients):
view on Amazon: citrus press juicer (It's fast and easy to juice a lemon in one quick squeeze with this handheld gizmo.)
These are the ingredients used in the fruit & spice applesauce blends.
Step 2. Wash the apples thoroughly. Then core and slice them, leaving the skins on. I use this handy tool that cores and slices an apple in one stroke.
view on Amazon: apple corer/slicer
Step 3. In a large pan add lemon juice and apple cider (or concentrate) to the apple slices, toss them, put on the lid and cook for 45-60 minutes, until the apples and skins are soft. Stir it every 15 minutes as it cooks.
Step 4. Use an immersion blender to puree the apples. You can do this right in the pan--no need to dirty a bowl. Move the stick blender around the pan and keep blending until it's the consistency you like. It's up to you: smooth or chunky. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also transfer the cooked apples (with any liquid in the pan) to a blender or food processor for blending.
view on Amazon: immersion blender (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated)
Step 3. Add ingredients to a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 5 hours or on high for 3 hours. (Slow cookers vary, so these times are approximate.)
Step 4. As with the stove top method, blend the cooked apples using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.
view on Amazon: my favorite slow cooker (rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated)
Here's how to make the four blended applesauce flavors. Same procedure as above with a few additional ingredients.
Use the basic apple sauce ingredients plus pumpkin pie spice. Give it a stir, cook it, and blend it. You can use a store bought spice mix or make your own. Here's my recipe for pumpkin pie spice.
Use the basic apple sauce ingredients plus fresh or frozen peaches, powdered ginger, and almond extract. Give it a stir, cook it, and blend it.
Use the basic apple sauce ingredients plus fresh or frozen blueberries. Add a vanilla bean (split it lengthwise down the center to release the tiny beans inside), vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract. Give it a stir, cook it, remove the vanilla bean, and blend it. (My recommendation: use a vanilla bean, if available, for the best flavor.)
Use the basic apple sauce ingredients plus fresh or frozen cranberries and ground cloves. Give it a stir, cook it, and blend it. (Hint: I recommend adding apple juice concentrate for extra sweetness to balance the tartness of cranberries.)
Make apple butter. It's easy. Use the exact same ingredients, but cook them longer. The apples will continue to cook down and will caramelize and darken. When blended, the sauce is smoother with a more intense flavor. The slow cooker method is particularly good for making apple butter, since it cooks slow and low. Try cooking the ingredients for 9-12 hours on low in the slow cooker for a delicious batch of apple butter in any of the flavor varieties.
Storage tips. Here are the options.
1. Sterilize the jars and keep them hot. I used a combination of pint and half-pint jars. Use a canning funnel to fill each hot jar with hot applesauce, leaving 1/2" headspace.
2. Insert a bubble remover down the side of the jar and pull toward the center to release any bubbles (you can use any long, thin object like a chopstick).
3. Clean jar rims thoroughly with a wet paper towel. If the rims are dirty the jars won't seal.
4. Add a lid to each jar. Screw on a ring until it is "finger tight".
5. Use a jar lifter to insert each jar vertically into the boiling water. There should be at least 1" of water over the tops of the jars. Cover and return water to a rolling boil. Process jars for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid; leave jars in hot water for 5 more minutes.
6. Use a jar lifter to remove each jar vertically and set on a towel. Leave undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Within 30 minutes after the jars are removed from the water, you know they've safely sealed if the center of the jar is slightly indented (it shouldn't give when you press it); sometimes you'll hear a popping noise when they seal. If any of your jars don't seal, store them in the fridge and use them within a week.
Store your sealed, processed jars in a cool, dark place (a cabinet or pantry is fine as long as it doesn't get too hot); a basement is ideal.
For a finishing touch, I like to label my jars. That way they're ready for gift giving, too. Applesauce is universally loved, and these flavor varieties are particularly unique and fun to share. Give one or several in a gift basket.
Download printable jar labels/tags.
If you don't have a printer or specialty papers, you can have a store with printing services download and print them for you (Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples, etc.)
You can cut the round tags out carefully with scissors, or use a circle punch to make the task easier.
Click on the image of your choice to download & print a full sheet of labels/tags. I've included a blank label for you to customize as you wish, or use it as a "TO and FROM" tag.
If you prefer to freeze your applesauce, these plastic freezer jars come in the same sizes as mason jars.
Look at the beautiful colors of these applesauce blends! Those are some gorgeous jars, don't you think? They taste as good as they look. My favorite way to use them is as a spread on toast, muffins, or bagels. They taste amazing and are a healthy alternative to sugary jams.
Make it a Yummy day!
RECIPE LINKS. Here are the recipes links for each of the applesauce blends in this post:
Want more applesauce ideas? Check out these yummy applesauce blends from other blogs: