Thursday, February 20, 2014

Easy No-Sugar-Added Cinnamon Applesauce

Chunky-style applesauce
Applesauce sometimes get a bad rap--it's too processed, it has too much sugar. Personally, I think making it yourself is the perfect solution, especially if you have another problem: that you have some soft or bruised apples around the house. It's actually a healthy, easy choice!

Smooth homemade applesauce

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No, you're not getting any pictures of my not-so-pretty small red delicious apples because they looked soft and a bit off. How unappealing.

4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch sized pieces
1/4 cup water (that's 1 tablespoon for every apple I used.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1. Place the chopped apples in a saucepan. The apples will cook down, so don't worry about leaving lots of space in your pot.

diced apples in pan

2. Add 1/4 cup water.

 3. If desired, you may add cinnamon. You may add it at the start, anytime while it's cooking, or even to your dish later.
I added cinnamon today at the 20 minute mark, so you can see how the apples have cooked down quite a bit.
 4. Cover and cook over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
30 minutes later, you get this
 5. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold later. You also have the choice of chunky applesauce, leaving it like this, or smooth. For smooth applesauce, put it in your blender.

I made some smooth and some chunky.
I love homemade applesauce. I would add that it's also easy on an upset stomach. Flu season is upon us and I prefer applesauce to apple juice for upset stomachs because applesauce has fiber in it and it a lot healthier, but still easier to digest than a whole apple.

Questions about making applesauce:

Q) Can I make it with more or fewer apples than 4?

A) Yes, just add 1 tablespoon of water for each apple in your pot.

Q) Do all the apples have to be the same kind?

A) No, I also enjoy mixing any kinds of apples I have. The flavors come out a bit differently each time I try a new combination.

Q) I hear applesauce is really high in sugar and is not nearly as healthy as eating a whole apple.

A) Applesauce is not quite as healthy for you as eating a whole apple because you remove the peel, which is very good for you. But when you make it at home, you know all that is in it is apple and a bit of water. Also, you know nothing has been removed--you haven't strained out a bunch of fiber from the pulp. That's why I feel good about declaring this a healthy food.

Q) I really like sweetened applesauce. How much should I add?

A) You can add 2 teaspoons of a sweetener if you want. Molasses, honey, brown sugar, or white sugar can be good it you really want to artificially sweeten it. But homemade applesauce always seems tastier to me than no-sugar-added applesauce you buy at a grocery store.

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