Applesauce is a common ingredient in baking and is widely consumed as a healthy snack. It is an excellent alternative to heavy desserts and a delicious way to change up your diet for the better!
There are several varieties of applesauce. Some are available in individual serving cups while others are sold in bulk – you can even easily make it at home!
But when it comes to storage, how well does applesauce fare when it comes to freezing and refrigeration?
Can you freeze applesauce? The great thing about applesauce is that it can be stored in the fridge and freezer. You can even store it in the packaging it came in! For example, bakers can purchase a large jug of applesauce and freeze the leftovers for later without compromising on the quality or flavor!
However, there are a few key things that you should keep in mind! Read below to learn more about freezing store-bought applesauce, a few best practices, and a great recipe to make applesauce at home!
How Long Can You Freeze Applesauce?
The base variant of applesauce, which is the kind that is usually sold in the supermarket, is very easy to make!
Pure applesauce is made by pureeing pieces of peeled apple.
Some brands will also add flavors or other additives to make their product last long but thankfully, applesauce is available in many natural and organic varieties too.
Applesauce freezes and refrigerates well as it contains very few ingredients. Basic applesauce is made from a mixture of just sugar, a bit of water, and apples – that’s it!
This plain version is extremely easy to store and, in some cases, it can even last up to 6-9 months or up to a year in the freezer, provided that it is kept at optimal storage conditions.
On its own, applesauce will remain edible for about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Some commercial varieties with preservatives may be able to stretch the storage time to about seven days but it is always best to consume applesauce within three days of opening the jar so that you get maximum freshness.
Frozen applesauce can last several weeks to months! When stored in the freezer, applesauce can remain edible for up to 2-3 months. In some instances, it can last even up to 6 months!
We’ll discuss how you can increase the storage time of applesauce but first, let’s look at how it is made!
How Applesauce Is Made
As mentioned, applesauce is very easy to make but its flavor can vary greatly due to the type of apples and processes involved in making the product at home and in factories.
We’ll go over each method so that you can understand how best to preserve each product!
The journey of applesauce begins at the factory, with a fresh shipment of handpicked organic apples.
Each apple is cleaned and screened for deformities or faults. The selected apples go through another rinse and then enter a tumbling machine that peels and processes them.
Once fully peeled and cored, the apples are then ground and turned into a thick paste. The paste travels through pipes and rests in large mixing tanks.
This is where additional ingredients like preservatives, color, and artificial flavoring are added.
Everything is mixed, heat-processed, packaged, and then sent off to stores.
Now, it is important to note that commercial applesauce contains preservatives and ascorbic acid that regulates and maintains the flavor and color of the product during its storage duration.
Every brand has a different way of manufacturing applesauce so you may even be able to find some all-natural varieties too.
The bulk of the products need to be stored in the fridge after opening. Applesauce is notorious for going bad at room temperatures!
Think about it, just like apple slices can go dark and black within minutes due to oxidization, applesauce goes through the same changes!
This is why it is important to keep the applesauce stored in a cold environment (your fridge).
Homemade applesauce is a bit different as it usually only contains a mixture of sugar and apples, and sometimes extra flavorings like vanilla or cinnamon.
This type of applesauce is free from preservatives and is very easy to make. All you need to do is peel and core the apples and then process them in a food processor. But of course, you will need to be careful of a few things.
Here is a quick go-to recipe for making the BEST applesauce at home:
- 4 apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Mix chopped, cored, and peeled apples along with water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover and cook for around 15 minutes or until the apples are soft and easily grindable or mash-able.
- Mash the applesauce or use a hand blender or food processor to chop the mixture until it turns into a thick paste.
Applesauce usually has a thick consistency but it can be made as per your preference. If you like a chunky sauce then we recommend using a potato masher to coarsely mash the mixture until it is a semi-solid paste.
However, for a finer mix, you can use a hand blender or a food processor to mix the applesauce. Just don’t over-process the mixture or it might overcook and become too runny!
How To Store Homemade Applesauce
Homemade apple sauce can be stored in airtight jars. The jars can then be stored in the fridge or freezer!
The best way to get the most out of homemade applesauce is if you use a glass jar. Get any high-quality jar and move the mixture from the pot into the jar and then store it in the fridge immediately.
Another thing that you can do is to dip the filled jars in a cold-water bath to prevent the mixture from cooking any further. Remember, you will be processing the apples by simmering them on low heat for about 15-20 minutes!
Furthermore, mechanically processing the mixture will likely result in more heat via friction too so you should dip the bottles in an ice-cold bath before storing them in the fridge.
The jars must remain refrigerated at 40°F. For the best results, it is recommended that you consume the applesauce within 3-4 days.
Homemade applesauce may be able to last about a week, but you will need to thoroughly check it for spoilage before consumption.
Freezing Homemade Applesauce
Applesauce can be frozen just like any other food! The best way to go about it would be to move the applesauce into a freezer-safe plastic or glass jar.
The jar should be placed at the back or the coldest spot in the freezer. The jar must not experience temperature discrepancies or it might affect the quality and flavor of the applesauce over time.
You can also check the back of the packaging for detailed storage instructions but in most cases, manufacturers may not label the full instructions for freezing or storing the applesauce for the long term.
Thankfully, you can use some common storage best practices to extend the shelf-life of applesauce!
Applesauce is full of moisture so you can expect it to become rock solid within 6-8 hours at 0°F. Once frozen, the sauce can then be used as needed by thawing it in either the fridge or microwave.
You can also chip away some of the frozen sauce using a fork or spoon and then let it melt naturally for not more than 1-2 hours outside.
Storing Leftover Applesauce
Leftover applesauce must be refrigerated or frozen within 2 hours of being at room temperature. This is to ensure the quality, safety, and texture of the sauce.
This can be applied to both homemade and commercial-grade applesauce. The best way to store leftovers is to either shift the mixture into an airtight bag or a jar.
Some people may even directly store individual cup servings in the fridge or freezer and while this is generally fine for the short term, it is much better if you move the contents and store them the right way to get the most out of its quality.
Top-open cups or jars of applesauce may not go bad in the fridge or freezer but will surely undergo chemical and flavor changes. The sauce may also accumulate freezer burn which will significantly affect the quality of the product.
Here’s a quick chart for storage times:
|Refrigerator – 40°F
|Freezer – 0°F
|Room Temperature – 68-72°F
Best Practice and Tips
If you are looking to maximize the storage time for applesauce, then we highly recommend that you go through these easy tips!
Using Fresh Ingredients
Applesauce remains fresh and safe as long as it is carefully cooked at home.
The commercial variety goes through several health and safety checks throughout the manufacturing process.
This is why it is recommended that you start with fresh apples! Any apple can be used to make applesauce but the sauce will only be as good as the apples.
If there are several deformities and ripe spots on the apple then this may significantly affect the quality of the applesauce!
Always buy fresh apples from the store and then immediately bring them home for processing.
Recently stored apples work just as well but if you are looking for the finest quality applesauce then you have to go the extra mile and get the freshest batch possible!
Applesauce can be stored in virtually any type of jar so long as it is clean and made from high-quality materials (these ones are a great option!).
Avoid purchasing cheap storage jars that can crack in cold temperatures or jars that can’t create an airtight seal within the container.
Keep in mind, once the apples are mashed, they will start to oxidize within a day, this is why you must work quickly!
Thoroughly clean the jars using warm and soapy water then dry them using a clean cloth. Once dry, fill in the applesauce and seal the lid.
Dunk the jars in cold water for 30 minutes to cool down the mixture and to prevent it from overcooking. When adequately cooled, move the jars into the fridge or freezer and store as intended!
Storing Applesauce In Storage Bags
If you are low on space then storage bags will work great in storing applesauce for the long term!
Since applesauce does not contain any dairy or other complex ingredients, it stores and freezes incredibly well and can last longer than other types of sauces.
However, the sauce still needs to be free from air and temperature differences as it can easily oxidize! The best way to store and use frozen applesauce is to divide it into different storage bags.
Measure each serving of applesauce and then store it separately in the freezer. You can then simply take out one bag at a time without thawing the whole batch of applesauce.
Please keep in mind that repeatedly thawing and freezing applesauce may degrade its flavor and quality. It may also make it highly susceptible to spoilage!
Thawing Frozen Applesauce
Applesauce can be thawed using the microwave. Just put in the microwave-safe container with the frozen applesauce and set the microwave at the defrost or thaw setting and let the sauce melt to the desired consistency and temperature!
Alternatively, you may also thaw the applesauce overnight in the fridge.
This is considered to be the best way to thaw applesauce since it will preserve its color, quality, and flavor—but if you’re in a hurry then a microwave will work well too.
Another way to thaw applesauce is to heat it by placing the container or bag with the frozen applesauce in a warm water bath.
This is another great way to quickly melt the applesauce without affecting its freshness or characteristics.
Just make sure that you don’t use boiling water for this step as it may end up cooking the sauce! Anything between 100-135°F will work well with frozen applesauce.
Making and freezing applesauce is very easy and is a great way to extend the benefits of this amazing ingredient.
Now that you know all about applesauce and how to properly store it in the freezer, here are some related questions!
Is homemade applesauce more nutritious than commercial applesauce?
This depends on the added ingredients. For example, some commercial applesauce brands use extremely high-quality apples but may also use high-fructose corn syrup to make the sauce.
While this does give the sauce a complex flavor, it also makes it unhealthy.
This negates any benefit that you can derive from an otherwise high-quality product. This is why homemade applesauce is the best way to get the health benefits of this food.
You may even pair other flavors like cinnamon and vanilla to change up the flavor profile of applesauce and make it even better!
Also, it is worth noting that some commercial varieties offer all-natural alternatives with natural sweeteners and ingredients too, so they might be a better fit for your dietary needs.
Can applesauce last more than a year in the freezer?
Even in ideal conditions, commercial applesauce may be able to last about 9-12 months depending on how well it is stored.
For example, sealed applesauce with ascorbic acid may remain edible for up to a year provided that you don’t repeatedly thaw and store the product at room temperature.
Homemade applesauce may not last as long but can survive up to 6-8 months in the freezer. You must store the sauce at 0°F and keep it in an airtight container (we’d recommend these ones) throughout its storage duration.
What are the signs of spoilage for applesauce?
Any discoloration or a change in flavor and texture may indicate that the applesauce has gone bad. Other signs include a foul odor or any type of flat or fuzzy growth on the surface or around the bottle of the applesauce.
Always check the applesauce after three days in the fridge or after 6 weeks in the freezer before consumption!
If you’re interested in making your own apple butter as well as applesauce, check out this great video on the subject!