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Sugar-Free Strawberry Applesauce

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I hadn’t planned to blog about applesauce this week, but I made a batch that was so yummy, I decided I had to share it, and so I quickly cooked up a second batch—this time, taking pictures so you could see the play-by-play.

This most recent “applesauce adventure” started with a road trip to drive my 18-year-old daughter back to college after the recent Thanksgiving break. I sliced up a few apples for us to snack on in the car. When I took my first bite, I discovered that the apple was mealy. Blech! I then tried a slice of the second apple, and that too was soft. (At least we still had our gluten-free pretzels to crunch on…)

Rather than throwing out the mushy apples, I knew they would be perfect for homemade applesauce—that’s what I always do with past-their-prime apples. It’s so fast and so easy and, most importantly, soooooo delicious.

Warning: Conventionally grown apples can have a lot of pesticide residue, so I always buy organic apples. That’s especially important for this recipe, because I keep the peels on. I love the added texture, and removing the skins sacrifices a lot of nutrition and fiber.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples (any kind will taste good, although I generally like using a mix of apple types)
  • 12 frozen strawberries
  • Cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. Cut apples into bit-sized chunks, and put into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Add strawberries.
  3. Sprinkle on desired amount of cinnamon.
  4. Cover with wax paper or parchment paper, and microwave on high for five minutes.
  5. Mix, and microwave again for three minutes.
  6. Mix and microwave again, if necessary, for three or so minutes more. Note: Actual cooking time will depend on the power of your microwave, so adjust accordingly. Generally, the apples are done when they mush easily with the back of a spoon against the bowl, although some apples won’t soften that way, so just use your judgement. Truthfully, it’s hard to mess up this recipe. You can even cook it more after you puree, if you desire.
  7. Using an immersion blender, puree the fruit until smooth. (A regular blender will also work, but an immersion blender is sooooo much easier.) This will take a several minutes to ensure that the skins also get nicely pureéd. I move the immersion blender in an up-and-down motion in different spots in the bowl rather than just moving it in a circle around sides of the bowl—the apples skins mush easier this way. (Check out my nifty video that demonstrates this below.)

As you can tell, I don’t add any sugar, and I promise you won’t miss it! The cinnamon beautifully enhances the natural sweetness of the apples. If you want to get a little more exotic, add a small shake of ground cloves and/or cardamom, too.

This applesauce is delicious hot or cold…plain or over potato pancakes (Hanukah is coming!) or even in place of cranberry relish on roasted turkey or chicken.

Strawberry applesauce is my personal favorite, but you can use other fruits as well, such as raspberries (if you don’t mind the seeds) and blueberries. As with strawberries, I use frozen berries because they mash better than fresh.

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