Recipes: Sugar free and delicious Applesauce

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photo by Deborah Fitchett
by Victoria Rhoades, ND

We all know that most fruit desserts are laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners – if you are like so many people, you probably said “I resolve to eat more healthy foods” recently. Fruit is healthy, full of fiber and vitamins and antioxidants; however, plain fruit can be a bit dull. 

This is easily transformed with a bit of cooking – no sugar needed. I like starting with Granny Smith apples, which are very tart when raw. But a bit of slow simmering on the cooktop, and the tartness is replaced by a much sweeter tone, as natural fruit sugars are slowly made from larger carbohydrates that are less sweet. That’s my science for the day – all cooking is chemistry of one kind or another, but you probably are less interested in that, so I’ll just cut to the chase.

  1. Take 3 medium-to-large Granny Smith apples – take off the stickers and give them a wash under the tap. 
  2. Inspect them for blemishes – if any are there, cut the blemishes out. 
  3. Cut up the apples, remove the seeds, and cut into chunks that are approximately ½” in size. I leave the peels on, but you can peel them first for smoother final product. 
  4. Put them in a pan with: 3 tablespoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. 
  5. Put the lid on the pan, and turn up the heat under to high till it’s boiling (only a minute or two), then turn it down to a low simmer. 
  6. As the apples cook, some liquid will come out of them, but you should check and stir every five or ten minutes to prevent scorching (if the pan has gone dry – add 3 more tablespoons of water). 
  7. When they are soft and cooked through (it should be less than 30 minutes), take them off the stove to cool.
After cooling, you can either mash them up (I use a potato masher) into a coarse sauce, or put them in a blender or cuisinart for a smoother sauce. You can use this beautiful, sugar free sauce in so many ways: on pork chops, for example; layered in a glass with granola and yogurt for a breakfast parfait; or just as-is for a dessert. It’s easy, and this recipe is very easily doubled or tripled once you find out how much you love it. It will keep refrigerated for about a week (but it may not last that long). It sure is easier to eat healthy when the food tastes good – I hope this helps your NY resolutions!

Want different ideas? Try the same process on pears with nutmeg, or fresh cherries with ginger, or plums with lemon or orange zest. If you have little kids, you can make up your own sauces without any seasoning to suit their more tender palates. Or make up your own combo. It’s really easy and I hope you have fun with it.

Victoria Rhoades, ND, practices in Lake Forest Park, and she loves to cook.


Valerie Craig,  January 16, 2011 at 1:59 PM  

Always a good idea to make applesauce.

I've found a really easy way to do it: I prepare the apples as you described. Put them in the crockpot, add about 1 inch of water, set the crock on low, cover, and leave it alone. Depending on your crockpot, the apples will break down in about 2-4 hours. No stirring needed until it's done.
This makes a very smooth applesauce.

For breakfast, we put cold applesauce on hot oatmeal.

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