Rich, decant, velvety smooth…no, I’m not talking about some fancy dessert, I’m talking about this Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce. It’s so good that it almost feels dirty. But surprise! It’s super clean, and 100% sugar free. With intense flavor and color, and tons of antioxidants, this blueberry applesauce is a healthy, guilt-free snack you can feel great about serving to your baby, your toddler, and especially yourself.
We really need to talk about….applesauce. YES. Yes, we do.
I’m a big fan of homemade applesauce, and before you mark this off as BOOOOOOORING, hear me out. Because this isn’t your standard fare. It’s fruit crack. Made with wild blueberries, and sweetened with vanilla and coconut sugar, this blueberry applesauce tastes more like blueberry pie filling than, say, baby food. It’s so good that it kinda feels dirty, or at least a little bit like cheating.
But cheating it certainly is not. Refined sugar free, and packed with antioxidants, this is as healthy and whole foodsy as a snack can get.
How to Make Blueberry Applesauce
This blueberry applesauce recipe is adapted from this version by Simply Recipes. It’s been my go-to, no-fail method for basic applesauce for years (except I use little to no sugar, I just find it too sweet).
Homemade applesauce is easy to make, but it’s a bit of a process, especially all that peeling. I’m generally not a fan of such tedious tasks, but it’s worth the effort here to achieve a velvety, luxurious texture. Use a variety of apples for the right balance between sweet and tart, wild blueberries for intense flavor and color, and just a touch of vanilla and sweetener for flavor that truly pops.
Puree the finished blueberry applesauce to your desired texture, anywhere from super chunky to ultra smooth. Enjoy it as-is for a healthy snack loved by all ages, mix into greek yogurt for an antioxidant packed breakfast, or serve over ice cream – warmed up and thinned just a bit, it’s an amazing sugar free coulis substitute.
You’ll need four pounds of apples for this recipe. Use a variety of apples for complexity in the finished sauce. I used Golden Delicious, Rome, and Fugi apples. Each of these are sweet, crispy apples with varying degrees of tartness, so they’re perfect for applesauce.
Quarter, core, and peel each apple. If you have a food mill, you can skip peeling and run the finished applesauce through it to filter out the skins. I prefer a super smooth finished applesauce, though, so I peel them and use an immersion blender.
Dice the apples, place into a colander and rinse thoroughly to remove any residual dirt or grit. This step is especially important if you’re using fresh picked apples.
Place the apples in a dutch oven or similar 6-quart pot, along with three cups of blueberries. I use frozen wild blueberries (the Wyman’s brand is my go-to) for making blueberry applesauce. They’re sweeter, more intensely flavored, and their skins easily puree into a smooth, silky sauce.
Add the juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons) as well as the peel. The lemon juice gives the finished applesauce that pleasant tartness we all love. The peel contains pectin, which gives the cooled, finished applesauce a thicker, slightly gelatinous texture. It’s wonderful.
Then add a teaspoon of vanilla, and a quarter cup of coconut sugar. I’ve made this applesauce without and without the sweetening. The difference is subtle, and you don’t really need the added sweetness, but the coconut sugar gives the applesauce a bit of a caramel edge. Don’t skip the vanilla, though – it’s what gives this sauce true decadence.
Simmer down the apples and blueberries until the fruit is very tender. It doesn’t take too long – about 25 minutes.
Once the fruit has cooked down, puree the applesauce to your desired consistency. I use an immersion blender for pureeing, and it’s a great tool for controlling the finished texture.
To make chunky applesauce, blend until the larger pieces are broken down, but just barely so. Don’t run the blender continuously, and do pick it up and move it around. This is how my kids prefer their applesauce.
I keep on pureeing past the stage above for super smooth applesauce. It doesn’t take too much longer, and you shouldn’t need more liquid. If you’re finding it too difficult to get a velvety smooth texture, add a bit of water, a teaspoon at a time. Be careful not to add too much or you’ll get a soup consistency instead.
How to Store Homemade Applesauce
I store homemade applesauce a couple different ways – by portioning it into individually sized 4-oz canning jars, and also into larger pint jars. From there I water bath can the smaller jars and freeze the larger ones. Applesauce will keep in the freezer up to 3 months, or canned for at least a year, probably several. Don’t worry – it won’t last that long because you’ll be diving into it every chance you get.
- This recipe is completely refined sugar free, and can be made entirely sweetener free if you use very sweet apple varietals, or simply prefer a more tart applesauce.
- Naturally paleo and vegan
- Gluten free, dairy free, soy free
More Recipes for Using Up Apples
If you have a glut of apples, consider these other recipes for using them up!
- Carrot Apple Soup with Pecans and Thyme
- Gluten Free Apple Crisp
- Thick Cut Pork Chops with Apple Jicama Slaw
- Kale Pomegranate Salad with Apple, Fennel, and Pepitas
Did you make this Blueberry Vanilla Applesauce? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Mason Jars
- 4 lb apples, peeled, quartered, and diced
- 3 c frozen wild blueberries
- ¼ c coconut sugar
- ¼ c water
- 1 lemon zested and juiced, about 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp pink himalayan sea salt
- Prepare the apples. Peel each apple, then quarter, remove the core, and diced into chunks.
- Place the apples into a colander and rinse under cold water.
- Place the apples into a 6-quart dutch oven or pot. Add the blueberries, coconut sugar, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Stir.
- Place over medium high and heat until the liquid starts bubbling. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and can be easily crushed with the tines of a fork, 20-25 minutes.
- Fish out the lemon peels, then use an immersion blender to puree the applesauce to desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, add water one teaspoon at a time. If the sauce is too thin, simmer uncovered over medium low heat until firmed up.
- Portion the applesauce into mason jars. Cool in the fridge, then transfer to the freezer, or can using the water bath method. Blueberry applesauce keeps in the freezer for 3 months, in the fridge for 2 weeks, and canned for at least one year.
- One serving size if 4 ounces.
- This recipe was adapted from this version by Simply Recipes.
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Is the lemon zest/juice optional?
Specifically asking for the canned version
The juice is optional, but I would keep the zest. The pectin in the zest helps the applesauce firm up a little more than it would without it. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Wondering do you actually take the zest the whole lemon than theow it the peel on top of that or just juice lemon than throw peel in
First I zest the entire lemon using a vegetable peeler. Then I cut in half and juice.
This is a fantastic recipe! We used 3lbs Granny Smith Apples and 1lb Pears but followed the recipe exactly otherwise. Thank you!