A blog post about homemade applesauce is long pending. If I make a list of FAQs, the first question would be "I can't find unsweetened applesauce. Can I make it at home?" I would have answered this question at least 50 times now and thought that its high time that I post the "how-to" here. One of the readers, dear NSG made a valid point that I should have an FAQ section instead of answering the same question again and again. The other questions which I'm being asked regularly is "what is whole wheat pastry flour, what can be substituted for it, where can I find Ener-G" and the list goes on. So I have decided to start a how-to series/baking tips series/compiling an FAQ page all at once slowly and steadily. Thanks NSG for your wonderful suggestion. So do leave a comment or send me an email if you have any questions like this to be answered. I'm thinking of posting it every Friday.
For those who don't know already, unsweetened applesauce is an egg substitute as well as a fat substitute in baking recipes. Actually any pureed/mashed fruit can be used for that matter. I have so far tried recipes substituting mashed bananas, apples, dates and prunes for the eggs and some of the fat in baking recipes. You can check those baking recipes using pureed fruits here. To know more about when to substitute pureed fruit for the eggs in a recipe, check the page about Egg Substitutes. You can use 1/4 cup of pureed fruit for each egg to be replaced but after 3 years for egg free baking, experience has taught me that substituting for eggs while baking is not always straight forward. You will have to do some mix and match, change the quantity of leaveners, etc. This substitute does not work in cookies because they tend to become very soft. Its better suited for quick breads, muffins and cakes. Note that such baked goods will be quite dense and moist. Also it is suggested that while using pureed fruit to replace the fat in a recipe, you may want to use at least 25%-30% of the fat mentioned in the original recipe and substitute the rest with the fruit. The amount of baking powder can also be increased a little bit while using pureed fruit.
Preparing applesauce at home is as easy as boiling water. Here I'm going to just talk about cooking applesauce for immediate use and not about canning. Good food starts with good/fresh ingredients. So if possible try to get organic apples because it is one of the produce in the "Dirty Dozen" list which has the highest level of pesticide contamination.
Homemade Applesauce Recipe
- 1 cup Peeled, cored and diced Apple (1 medium size)
- 1/2 cup or as needed Water
- 1 Cinnamon Stick (optional)
- Combine the chopped apples, water and cinnamon stick (if using) in a saucepan and cook it for about 15 minutes or until tender. Add some more water if you think its necessary.
- Remove it from heat and cool it.
- If there is excess water, drain out the apples and blend it smooth in a blender adding little water if needed. Reserve the excess liquid and use it in the baking recipe for some of the liquids mentioned. The above measurement yields 3/4th of a cup of applesauce which can be substituted for 3 eggs.
- The cooking can be very well done in a microwave oven too. It takes only about 3 minutes to cook.
- Since we are not using any preservatives, I would suggest using this homemade applesauce within a day or two.
- To process such a small amount of apple you need a very small blender like the Magic Bullet or the Indian mixer jar I own. If you don't have either one of these try using a fork/potato masher or increase the quantity of apples.
- You may choose to use the cinnamon or omit it. It is especially preferable to use the spice if you are going to use the applesauce in a recipe which calls for cinnamon.
- This homemade applesauce is also a very good starter food for babies. You can try the same with pears too.
- If finding unsweetened applesauce is not a problem, then I would recommend buying the pack with small snack size cups instead of a big bottle. You won't believe how many times I have thrown away bottles with about 3/4th of the sauce still in there. However careful you might be like using a clean and dry spoon, closing the lid properly and refrigerating it immediately after use, it tends to grow mold. So these snack size packs are very convenient and economical. Each container measures about 1/2 a cup. Even if you use only a small portion of that, you can always snack on the remaining or use it while preparing pancakes, in milkshakes etc.