We are all so time-starved these days that often when we see a recipe for something homemade like applesauce or jam, we are discouraged from making it. However, this recipe is one that you need not be discouraged by! In fact, it’s so easy you could make it with your eyes closed, well almost.
In the Northern Hemisphere apples are in season from fall to early winter and this means if you go apple picking or to your local farmers’ market you can get a bushel of apples for a very affordable price. I have noticed apples in my local grocery store being sold in bulk as well. Apples are everywhere and this is great news because they have numerous health benefits including:
- Great source of quercitin: A flavonoid that is a natural antihistamine, potent anti-inflammatory and important for heart health.
- Cancer-fighting antioxidants: Catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. Make sure you eat the skins for these free radical scavenging antioxidants to do their work.
- Source of vitamin C and fiber: One medium-sized apple has approximately, 4 grams of fiber per serving. Both insoluble fiber (like cellulose) and soluble fiber (like liver-loving pectin). Studies have shown that both types of fiber can lower your LDL cholesterol. Most of the fiber is found in the skin. Although you are going to peel the apple for this recipe, you can save the skins and toss them in a salad.
- Lung health: Apples stand out out amongst other fruits when it comes to lung function. Several studies have shown apples reduce the risk of asthma
Make sure you purchase organic to avoid unnecessary pesticides and toxins. The Environmental Working Group has developed a list of the most highly sprayed foods and apples tops the list. Especially if you are eating the skin, you want to make sure you purchase certified organic.
Applesauce is a wonderful snack with yogurt or a sweet after-dinner snack. It’s much kinder to your waistline than apple pie and this recipe freezes well so you can enjoy applesauce all winter.
Homemade Applesauce Recipe
- 12 peeled apples (Either Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, Idared, Cortland or Golden Delicious)
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/2-2/3 cup Sucanat sugar or agave nectar depending how sweet you like your applesauce and how sweet the apples are that you are using (see note below on sweeteners).
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- Just enough water to cover the apples in the pot when they are cooking.
- Add some variety: Throw in raisins, chopped walnuts, nutmeg or cloves
Makes 1 quart of applesauce.
Wash, peel, core and quarter the apples. Place the apples in a large pot and add cranberries, cinnamon, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Check from time to time to make sure mixture isn’t drying out. Add more water if the apples are getting too dry. Taste test from time to time and add more sugar if needed.
For chunky applesauce (my preference): Use a potato masher to crush the soft apples. A few larger chunks will remain.
For smooth applesauce: Place the apple mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Spoon into glass containers and store for a week to ten days in the fridge or in the freezer for longer.
Sucanat is a non-refined cane sugar and agave nectar is a sweetener made from the agave plant. Both of these sweeteners are lower in the glycemic index than sugar – a better choice for diabetics. The sugar from agave nectar for example, is released slower into the blood stream keeping the blood sugar at a consistent level.
Applesauce is delightful for breakfast over yogurt or an afternoon snack with some nuts and seeds.
Joy McCarthy is a registered holistic nutritionist with her own bustling biz in downtown Toronto – Joyous Health. With a passion for all things local, organic and joyous, when she isn’t working, Joy can usually be found riding her bike or at the St. Lawrence Market searching for the perfect organic apples. She believes that feeling fabulous is achievable when you eat well and live well.