How to freeze applesauce
Last week, I wrote a post about bypassing the grocery store produce section in favor of supporting your local farmers. Oregon and Washington produce some of the country’s best apples and pears. This is the time of year we should all be taking advantage of that! Apple season is just getting good so head to your local farmers market, produce stand, or apple orchard and get in on this year’s harvest!
With our apple haul, we do three things : eat, bake, and freeze.
:: We eat apples fresh until the thought of eating another apple in January is like the thought of picking another zucchini in August. If the ”apple a day” motto is accurate, then we are in good shape.
:: I also bake several apple pies or crisps. When my husband walks through the door after a long day or the bathtub faucet is leaking or I accidentally run over something with the car that should not have been run over, I soften the blow by casually mentioning, “Oh, by the way, I baked an apple pie today.” His eyes light up, and everything that happened before that sentence is forgotten. Trust me, it is like magic. I speak from experience. When I’m in a tight spot, I just whip out an apple pie (go here for my favorite recipe).
If you do not consider yourself a baker, then buy a pre-made crust in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. I used to do this when I worked full-time; the crusts are easy to assemble and don’t taste half bad either.
:: Finally, freezing applesauce. My little family of four goes through a crazy amount of applesauce. I like to keep our freezer stocked with the homemade stuff because it is super simple to make, and it tastes better than anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelves (see below).
I’m thinking of using up the last of my pint jars by canning applesauce for the first time this year. Advice? Is it worth the effort or should I stick with the freezer method?
This year, I bought a Norpro AppleMate 2 from Bi-Mart. This baby attaches to your countertop and peels, slices, and cores the apples with the crank of the handle. Growing up, my mom had one of these. We just called it the Apple-Peeler-Slicer-Corer. Creative, I know.
I have no idea why it took me so long to get one of my own. They are a brilliant little invention, and for $20, money well-spent because they are such a huge time saver. Even my toddler got in on the action, cranking out spirals of peeled apples. If you have the time & patience, it’s a great way for little hands to help out.
We used Gravenstein apples because they are a soft variety so they break down quickly as they cook. Simply toss the peeled, cored, cut apples into a large pot. Add enough water to keep the apples from scorching on the bottom. It doesn’t take much liquid because the apples will give off quite a bit of their own as they cook. You can always stir and check, adding water as needed.
Let the apples simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. I cook and stir the apples for around 30-45 minutes, giving them more time to break down because I like a smoother applesauce. If you like it perfectly smooth, you could even run it through a blender, food mill, or food processor. For chunkier applesauce, remove it from the heat a bit sooner or mix in other firmer apple varieties that won’t cook down as easily.
This year I froze several small bags of unsweetened applesauce to use as baby food and as an oil-substitute for baking. I sweetened the rest with some sugar to taste. You could use the sweetener of your choice. I keep things pretty simple, but you could also add some cinnamon or other spices, if desired.
Pure comfort food.
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