How Long Is Applesauce Good For
Apples are a great source of fiber and antioxidants (like quercetin), but they can also be pretty messy if you’re not careful about peeling them. However, most people don’t know that once you cut into an apple, there’s actually another layer inside. The flesh contains sugars, acids and enzymes, which help break down the fruit’s tough skin. This means that even when you eat just the outside of the apple, you still get all of those nutrients. In fact, many health experts recommend eating the entire apple because it helps prevent disease-causing bacteria from entering your body.
There’s one other thing about apples — they keep quite well after being picked or pressed. Apple sauce is made by cooking slices with water and/or sugar until its texture changes. It can then be refrigerated or frozen. Some brands will even sell you “tenderized” applesauce — basically apples with the pectin removed so that it won’t separate as easily in jars — that you can use right away. If you want to preserve the freshness longer than seven days, however, you’ll need to put it in the freezer. And while most apple sauces have long shelf lives, you should never store your own homemade variety for more than three months.
So how do you make sure you have enough applesauce on hand? Let’s take a look at what happens during processing and storage.
The Science of Applesauce
In order to understand how long applesauce lasts, we first need to learn a little bit about how it’s processed. There are two main ways to extract juice from apples: pressing and juicing. When you press apples manually, you squeeze the juice out through small holes using a wooden tool called a reamer. Or you can use a machine like a cider mill, which crushes the apples rather than squeezing them. Then, depending on whether the apples are sweet or tart varieties, you may add extra water to create hard apple cider, soft apple cider or apple juice. Hard ciders require a lot less refining than juices, since they already contain plenty of sweetness.
Once the juice has been extracted, you typically strain it through a filter to remove pulp and sediment. You might think this would diminish the flavor, but the opposite is true. Because the pulp contains tannins, it actually adds complexity to the finished product. So next time you grab a bottle of cheap apple juice, try adding a few tablespoons of pulped apple instead.
While making apple sauce is relatively easy, it takes patience to wait for the end result. Depending on the type of apple used, the process can go from weeks to years. Cider production isn’t instant either; it can take several hours to brew a single gallon. But all of these processes ultimately achieve the same goal: converting apple solids into liquid to create something delicious.
If you’re looking for a quick way to turn apples into applesauce, consider trying to find some recipes for quick-to-make applesauces. They usually call for only simple ingredients like water, sugar and spices. These dishes tend to be sweeter than commercial versions, too. Not sure where to start? Try our recipe for apple butter.
Apple Sauce vs. Applesauce
Though the terms sound similar, there’s a difference between apple sauce and applesauce. While both products are made from cooked apples, applesauce doesn’t have any added water or milk. Instead, it’s mostly concentrated apple juice. That said, even commercially produced applesauce often includes water and sometimes milk proteins.
But why does it take so long to cook it? During the initial heating step, the natural pectin in apples releases large amounts of CO2 gas. As the temperature rises, the pressure builds up inside the container. Since there’s no room for the gas to escape, it eventually bubbles over the top of the jar and causes the lid to pop off. Once this occurs, the excess CO2 is released into the air. Pectic enzyme is then added to neutralize the acidity and stop the fermentation process.
This method works well for preserving applesauce, especially for long-term storage. If you’d prefer to skip the heating step, you could opt to freeze it instead. Just heat the mixture to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (around 60 degrees Celsius) for around 45 minutes. After defrosting it overnight in the refrigerator, you’ll need to stir in additional sugar and spices.
Most of us buy apple sauce because it’s convenient and inexpensive. Commercial apple sauce tends to be cheaper than fresh apples themselves, and the prep work is minimal. Plus, it’s easy to transport and last for months in the pantry. If you choose to make your own version, however, it’s important to follow proper food safety procedures and store it properly so that you can enjoy it later.
Did you know that applesauce was originally created specifically for sailors who needed healthy alternatives to salt pork and beef?
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