Applesauce is one of the simplest dishes to make. Especially when you have a surplus of apples. This easy and healthy option can save you from worrying about all that fresh fruit going bad. However, you may be wondering how to keep this delicious treat from spoiling once it has been made.
Freezing applesauce is a fantastic way to keep this tasty treat delicious for many months. If you make your applesauce at home, it can last up to 12 months in the freezer. Note that adding spices, butter, or other ingredients to your applesauce before freezing can make it spoil faster, so save that for when you're ready to eat it!
There are many factors that go into freezing this deceptively simple food, so let's break down all the details needed to ensure you have delicious applesauce months down the line.
Does Applesauce Freeze Well?
As long as you take the appropriate steps to prepare your applesauce for freezing, it handles the process very well. Since the majority of people who make applesauce at home are doing so because of a surplus of apples, it is very beneficial to be able to save plenty of it for later.
Applesauce freezes best when it is stored in small, easily defrostable batches. These pre-portioned containers will take much of the guesswork out of defrosting and will ensure that you only thaw the amount needed at any given time.
Guaranteeing the best result from your frozen applesauce comes down to the steps you take to prepare it and its intended purpose. If you are making and storing applesauce to use as baby food, for example, it will benefit from a slightly different process and storage method than applesauce for general cooking or eating uses.
Preparing Your Applesauce With Freezing In Mind
Preparing your applesauce starts with the kind of apples you've selected. Softer types of apples will break down quickly and result in very smooth, unsweetened applesauce that makes for excellent frozen baby food or an oil substitute. If you have a firmer variety of apples that won't break down as easily, you can make chunkier applesauce that works well as a standalone snack.
If you are fortunate enough to have apple trees on your property or have a friend with apple trees, applesauce is the perfect way to use those organic apples. Since homegrown apples tend to be smaller than store bought ones, they aren't as ideal for taking a bite out of, and their lack of preservatives means that they don't have the best shelf life. Turning them into applesauce is the perfect way to solve both problems while taking advantage of apple picking fun!
Choosing whether or not to peel your apples is mostly a matter of preference, but it will also affect your applesauce's overall consistency. Especially if you are working with red apples, leaving the skin on will give it that reddish color that some people prefer, and will give it a more textured feel. Both peeled and unpeeled varieties will freeze more or less the same, and as long as you don't include any additives before freezing, it will not affect its longevity either.
If you find that the stovetop cooking method does not reduce your apples down to the consistency you would like on its own, you can also use a food processor or a blender to puree the fruit further. However, keep in mind that hot foods in blenders and food processors give off a lot of heat and have the potential to steam violently. Always use care when using these appliances to avoid potential mishaps ahead of time.
Once you have cooked your apples down into a sauce with the desired consistency, it is important to remember to allow it cool. Freezing a still-warm sauce of any kind will affect the taste and cause problems when it's freezing. You can prevent this from happening by letting your applesauce cool to room temperature before putting it into its freezer-safe containers.
Best Containers To Freeze Applesauce In
As mentioned previously, the containers for freezing applesauce vary slightly depending on their end purpose. Though, across the board, it is best to store it in multiple small containers rather than fewer large ones. There are four generally accepted options for freezing your applesauce, including mason jars, plastic storage containers, freezer bags, and ice-cube trays, which we will expand upon below.
Mason jars have a certain rustic charm to them. This quality can make for an adequate storage method for freezing applesauce, as long as you remember to leave half an inch to an inch of space at the top of the jar. Applesauce expands when frozen, so leaving a small amount of space will prevent potential messes inside your freezer. However, relative to other storage methods, mason jars do not stack or fit into a freezer nicely, and other options may be better if available.
Whatever brand you might own, whether it's Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or generic brands, plastic containers will store your applesauce in an excellent stackable manner. Like the mason jar option, you will need to ensure that you leave a small amount of room to allow for the sauce to expand, but if you fail to do so, the effects will be less catastrophic as the lids will likely just pop off.
Freezer bags have a couple of fantastic advantages over the other storage options. The first is that they are undeniably cheaper than other choices if you are planning to freeze a lot of applesauce. Secondly, they come in a wide variety of sizes to suit your storage needs. Ensure that you remove as much air from the bags before freezing them to eliminate the possibility of frost forming inside the bag.
One trick that can make your freezer bags easier to deal with is to ensure that you flatten them out in the freezer as they begin to cool. This method will make stacking more manageable and give you an advantage if working with limited freezer space.
Ice Cube Trays
As a storage solution, ice cube trays may raise a few eyebrows as they are a bit unconventional, but they are the single best option for freezing applesauce to use as baby food. Before you freeze your applesauce in freezer trays, ensure that you've cleaned the trays thoroughly. Also, select trays with lids for easier stacking and less potential for ice to form. Having small portions of applesauce easily accessible means you will be ready with baby food whenever the situation demands!
No matter which storage method you choose, freezing applesauce is a surefire way to have delicious snacks available at a moment's notice. When defrosting any of the above options, leave them at room temperature if you don't need a rapid thaw, or use a microwave if you do. Note that if you use the microwave method, you should consume the applesauce reasonably quickly afterward.
How To Use Your Frozen Applesauce
If you've been following along at home, you likely have a pretty significant amount of frozen applesauce ready whenever you want. However, if you are getting tired of having applesauce on its own, you may be wondering how best to use this snack to maximize your enjoyment. There are a tremendous number of fantastic ways to use frozen applesauce. Let’s highlight a few notable options that can be used to shake up your apple-eating habits!
Applesauce As A Condiment
One of the most obvious ways to highlight the versatility of applesauce is to use it as a condiment. You can defrost one of your conveniently stored packages, and then add it on top of hot cereals like oatmeal, or combine the sauce with roast pork or sausages. Keeping small portions of frozen applesauce readily available can elevate meals without needing to stock up on store-bought varieties loaded with extra sugar and preservatives.
Applesauce In Baking
Defrosting applesauce for use in baking is a perfect way to get by with less oil. If you substitute applesauce for the fat or oil options in cake and muffin recipes, it can be a healthier option that utilizes your homemade applesauce. In addition to its use as an oil substitute, you can also use your frozen portions of applesauce to make a traditional loaf cake. This tasty confection is a tried and true way to make a delicious dessert using the healthy applesauce you've got packed into your freezer.
Applesauce In The Slow Cooker
The natural sweetness and moisture that applesauce provides allow for some pretty creative options when cooking meat. You can take your pulled pork recipe to the next level by cooking the meat in applesauce. This unlikely pairing is great for when you have been working through your frozen applesauce supply, and you need to take care of the last of it before starting a new batch.
Don't forget that you can also season your applesauce with cinnamon, cloves, and other spices, or that you can sweeten it to appeal to a younger palate. Always keep in mind that you should only include any additives after defrosting, as the freezing process can affect the flavor of the spices.
Your Opportunities Are Endless
At this point, it is safe to say that applesauce is one of the most versatile foods that you can make and freeze quickly and easily. Next time you find a chance to go apple picking, especially if you have kids, go ahead and get all the fruit you can, knowing full well that you can make that supply last for months at a time.
Having the knowledge to make nutritious food last a long time will give you a huge leg up when you need snacks for yourself or your children. Avoid the frustrations of store-bought applesauce by freezing your own, and you will be amazed at how far this fruit will go.