The fact I am sharing a healthy applesauce recipe is a little funny since whenever I do a media interview and a reporter asks me to describe in a bit more detail exactly what it means to eat a whole-foods “Clean Cuisine” diet I always say you want to eat mostly plant foods and you always want to eat those foods in their natural and unrefined state—and then I go on to give examples such as how you should eat corn instead of corn flakes, steel cut oats instead of a granola bar that is “made with oats”…and apples instead of applesauce. I always give that same “apples instead of applesauce” example so anyone who’s heard me give an interview must wonder why I’m now dishing out a recipe for “healthy applesauce.” Here’s the deal, my homemade healthy applesauce recipe is totally different than the packaged applesauce you buy at the supermarket for two very important reasons:
- Supermarket applesauce is not made with the “whole” apple because it doesn’t include the apple skins. Keep in mind the apple skins are where most of the fiber in apples is concentrated plus apple skins contain nutrients, including important flavonoid phytonutrients such as quercetin. If you throw out the apple skins you pretty much throw the baby out with the bath water! And, if you are concerned about your weight it is especially important to note research has actually compared the consumption of “whole” apples to skinless applesauce and apple juice and found that apples eaten without their skins don’t even come close to being as filling and satisfying as the “whole” apple. The healthy applesauce recipe below is made with the “whole” apple—skins and all!
- Commercial applesauce is often sweetened with empty calorie sugar. Sure, you can buy unsweetened applesauce but it still doesn’t have the beneficial apple skins plus it doesn’t exactly taste all that great either, so even why bother? The healthy applesauce recipe below is still sweet but instead of being sweetened with empty-calorie sugar it gets a nutrient-rich sweet kick from “whole” raisins—when you puree the cooked sweet, plump and juicy raisins with the apples they blend right in and make the whole thing taste like dessert! YUM! And definitely worth eating.
The healthy applesauce recipe below is actually a slight variation on a recipe my mom made for me growing up. Mom never skinned the apples. To be honest, I think she just didn’t want to do all that peeling. Or who knows, maybe mom instinctively knew best not to peel? Mom never added sugar to her applesauce recipe either (I was a super active kid and mom was always worried any extra sugar might give me a not-needed surge of energy.) But, I like things sweet so it was my idea to add the raisins to the recipe below. And I know ginger has so many health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties so I added ginger too, but feel free to leave the ginger out. I add the cranberries because mom often did that plus the cranberries add a burst of vitamin C along with a broad spectrum of phytonutrients.
And by the way, kids LOVE this healthy applesauce! If you want to make it even sweeter you can add “date sugar” which is a “whole food” sugar made from dehydrated and ground dates (note: date sugar is not an empty calorie refined sugar!)
On with the recipe….
Mom’s Quick and Healthy Applesauce Recipe with Zero Added Sugar
- 3 organic Fuji apples, cored and chopped (keep the skins on!)
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ -inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup white raisins
- 1 cup water
- Add all of the ingredients to a large heavy saucepan; cover and heat over medium heat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until apples and raisins are soft. Keep the lid on, remove from heat and let sit at least 10 minutes.
- Use a handheld stick blender to puree. Serve warm or cold.
Note: applesauce will keep for 4 days if stored in a covered container in the fridge.