Fall is in the air and a fresh crop of apples hitting our stores signals that it’s the perfect time to crank up your stove again. Sure, apples are great for snacking, but they always inspire me to dive into the kitchen and whip up some cold-weather recipes — none more enticing than spiced applesauce.Applesauce is simply a puree made of cooked apples and it’s really easy to make at home. It can be made with several types of apples — some green, some red, either peeled or unpeeled, — and a variety of “sweet” spices such as cinnamon, ginger (freshly grated or ground), cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon or a bit of sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup can be added. Applesauce can be chunky or completely pureed. In the old days, it was prepared ahead and stored for the winter.
Of course, you can always purchase ready-to-eat applesauce, too. Just remember to avoid artificial sweeteners or chemical preservatives (you won’t find these in the brands we sell). I prefer unsweetened applesauce made from organic apples. Give it a try and you just may find that you love the natural taste with no added sugars.
Applesauce can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. Here are some awesome ways to use applesauce:
- Top cooked hot cereals such as Oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice or barley with applesauce instead of sugar. For more sweetness, add chopped dried fruits or raisins.
- Serve hot applesauce with roast pork or sausages (chicken and turkey sausage work well, too).
- Applesauce is delicious with crisp-cooked nitrate-free bacon or a vegetarian version of tempeh bacon.
- Stir roasted nuts into applesauce.
- Add applesauce to your morning smoothie.
- Serve applesauce over pancakes, muffins and quick breads. These healthy Whole Wheat Cornbread Muffins and these Gluten-Free Flaxseed Muffins are made with applesauce and ground flaxseed. These eat-your-veggies Carrot Zucchini Cupcakes are perfect for back-to-school.
- When in America, do as the Germans do: Eat applesauce with potato pancakes. Serve these Simple Potato Pancakes with applesauce and sour cream. Or try it with these Zucchini Potato Latkes and Zucchini Pancakes.
- When you use applesauce in baking, you can get by with adding less oil. Here’s a recipe for Maple Walnut Applesauce Cake that uses just a little oil, some whole wheat pastry flour and pure maple syrup for a healthier cake. Try substituting applesauce for some of the fat/oil in your favorite muffin and cake recipes.
- Stir applesauce into plain or vanilla yogurt, or try it with ricotta or cottage cheese. Top with nuts, dried fruits, whole grain cereal or granola.
- Eat applesauce with a favorite tangy cheese. My personal favorites: Manchego from Spain or extra sharp cheddar, but any tangy or sharp cheese will do nicely.
- Eat applesauce with granola, or serve up a batch of Granola and Applesauce Muffins straight from the oven.
- For a super quick dessert, applesauce is the secret ingredient in this Instant Banana Pudding.
If you’ve got an appetite for applesauce and a favorite recipe to boot, I’d love to know.