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Want to make super easy sugar free applesauce without peeling the apples? I’m going to show you how! No sugar, no peeling apples for days, no setting up the Victorio strainer, and virtually no waste. Only applesauce with phenomenal flavor.
Throwback to last fall: I had a colicky baby and I needed a way to make quick and easy applesauce. My husband is a gastroenterologist (gut doctor) in training who insists that if everyone ate more peelings they wouldn’t need GI docs (not nearly so much, anyway).
“Make applesauce with the peelings,” he said.
“I’ve never heard of making applesauce with peelings,” I said. Which was a polite way of saying, “What is my mom going to think??”
I made applesauce with the peelings in it. It was actually really good, and it was so easy that the process makes up for any small bits of peeling you may encounter in your applesauce. Leaving the peelings in adds more flavor – kind of like the fullness of apple cider versus apple juice. Here’s how I did it.
We visited an orchard and found the Holy Grail of applesauce apples: Honeycrisp seconds. I would typically never buy Honeycrisp apples to turn into applesauce (and rarely even to eat fresh!) because they’re extremely expensive, but finding seconds made the idea more palatable – and wow, that was good applesauce. We got half a bushel. I kept some out for fresh eating, but then I also added a few Gala and Jazz apples I had on hand to the applesauce so I probably used about a half bushel of apples, all told.
My mom always made applesauce with Granny Smith apples. It was pretty tart but had great flavor.
Obviously the type of apple you use will affect the flavor of your applesauce. If you want a sweet applesauce, use a sweet apple, and vice versa. Typically orchards will have some kind of “directory” of their apples which will inform you which are good for which thing. I prefer a firm apple with a fine grain that is sweet and tart at the same time – basically Honeycrisp.
Wash your desired quantity of apples.
Cut any bad spots off the apples – throw these scraps in the woods for the animals or compost them.
Core the apples. The easiest, quickest way to do this is by cutting along the core four times as shown below. I save the cores to make apple cider vinegar! More on that later.
Put the cored apples in a large kettle (I used an 8 quart) with a few inches of water. You may need to do multiple batches depending on how many apples you want to sauce. (I cooked mine in two batches.) It’s helpful not to fill the kettle all the way up so you have room for stirring without getting apples all over your stovetop. Cover the kettle and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to keep the liquid at a low boil. Cook the apples until they’re really soft and falling apart, stirring occasionally.
When the apples are soft, drain the excess liquid using a colander. (Reserve the liquid to make mulled cider later.) Stir the apples in the colander a bit with a spoon to release any ready liquid. There will still be some liquid in the apples – that’s fine. Let the apples cool a bit before blending. Go feed the baby if you have one.
Spoon the apples into your desired high powered blender of choice – I love my Vitamix. Don’t overfill. Leave the vent on top open to prevent pressure from building up but cover the opening with a kitchen towel to avoid getting splashed in the face with hot apples. Be very careful and use common sense.
Process the apples to the desired texture. (You can add some of the liquid back in if needed; I did not.) I prefer to quit blending before the mixture is completely babyfood smooth, but that does mean that a few little flecks of apple peeling remain.
Pour the applesauce into freezer containers. Leave a bit of headspace for expansion. Cool the applesauce to room temperature on the counter before covering with lids and freezing.
Can we just pause a minute and look at wittle baby Hadassah?!? What you don’t see is that this was while she was still colicky, and she was NOT impressed to be in that swing while Mom was making applesauce. Finally she cried herself to sleep…. Don’t worry – she was closely supervised.
I have no experience canning applesauce at this point, but I’d love to learn! Leave your tips in the comments section!
I’m sure there are plenty of applesauce canning tutorials online, so just follow this process up to the “pour into containers” point and follow a canning tutorial from there if that’s your preference. I find that frozen applesauce tastes fresher than canned applesauce, but it also takes up a lot of room in the freezer (and you have to have a freezer).
A half bushel of apples yielded 11 ½ 1.5-pint containers. (That would be a little over 17 pints, or a little over 8 ½ quarts.)
Applesauce made with the peelings will be darker in color than regular applesauce.
Using a Victorio strainer
If you don’t want to include the peels and all in your applesauce, get yourself a Victorio strainer and do this the old fashioned way. This is how my mom always made applesauce. It comes out super smooth. Just a little more assembly and mess to clean up – plus you don’t get those great GI benefits from the peelings. 😉
Adding sweetener to applesauce
I grew up eating tart applesauce made with Granny Smith apples, so that’s my norm. I prefer unsweetened applesauce because a) I like tart things, and b) I like to be able to use it in recipes without having to tweak the sweetener amount in the recipe.
If I serve applesauce for dinner and want it to be a little sweeter I just top my own with some cinnamon and THM Super Sweet Blend or a drizzle of honey (not the best option if you want to lose weight).
I’m sure you could also add your favorite low glycemic sweetener to the applesauce to taste – either blend or whisk it in before pouring the applesauce into your desired storage containers. You could add some cinnamon too if you like; this will darken the color.
Where does applesauce fit in the Trim Healthy Mama plan?
Applesauce with no added sugar is a THM E ingredient because it contains carbs but no fats. Be sure to enjoy it with a lean protein to balance your blood sugar!
Making homemade apple cider vinegar with apple cores
I hate to waste things, and I use a lot of vinegar. Thankfully making homemade apple cider vinegar out of apple cores is super easy! I followed this recipe, so go check it out for a more detailed guide. I’ll give a quick rundown here:
- Fill a half gallon jar three-quarters of the way full with apple cores. Don’t include any bad spots.
- Fill the jar with filtered water to cover the apple cores, leaving a few inches of room at the top of the jar. (Probably more room than I left – mine tends to overflow.) Add 1 tablespoon of white sugar per cup of water. (Don’t worry – these sugars will be eaten up in the fermentation process.)
- If you have it, add a glug of raw apple cider vinegar or kombucha to get the fermentation started.
- Cover the jar with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. Set it in a dish in case things run over. (Trust me on that.) Leave it somewhere out of direct sunlight for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, strain the vinegar and discard the cores. (Throw them in the woods or compost them, ideally.) Return the liquid to the jar, cover with a fresh coffee filter, and ferment for another 2-4 weeks or until the vinegar is as strong as you want it to be.
- Use in recipes! I’ve found that homemade vinegar is a little more mild than storebought vinegar.
Fermenting the leftover “juice”
Remember that liquid left over from cooking the apples? You can save that! I’m not sure how this falls in THM, but I’m guessing it’s an E. Fruit juices aren’t typically on plan because they’re just concentrated sugars with no fiber to blunt a blood sugar response, but this isn’t actually fruit juice and we’re going to ferment it.
Here’s what I did:
- I had a quart of liquid in a jar, to which I added about 3 tablespoons of kombucha starter tea. I covered this with a coffee filter secured with a rubber band and left it at room temperature to ferment.
- I would check the fermentation level at 2 days. I left mine for 3 days because it was cold outside and fermentation wasn’t happening that quickly. I would have left it a little longer but we were going on a trip so I put it in the fridge.
- The result was really good! The fermentation gave the “juice” a bit of a zip, introduced good bacteria, and helped break down the carbs.
I also made a “mulled cider” with this juice by adding a pinch of ground cloves, half a cinnamon stick, some THM Super Sweet Blend, and a dab of molasses – then simmering (covered) for an hour or two. Delicious!
EQUIPMENT I LOVE:
- my Vitamix blender that makes peeling the apples unnecessary (whoot whoot!)
- my Tupperware colander that I use almost daily – I have an old retro version like my mom had when I was growing up
- a long stainless steel spoon that I use for mixing and stirring all the things
- these 1.5 pint freezer containers that I use to freeze my applesauce! I actually bought mine directly from US Plastics. They’re cheaper there but the checkout process is a bit funky. I’m not sure how far ahead you’ll come out when you calculate in shipping.
As always, check out the Notes section of the recipe for helpful info and answers to frequently asked questions! You can also find links to the equipment I use and recommend.
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On the recipe print page you can select what kind of info you actually want to print. You can print the recipe with pictures or without!