The first spoonful of applesauce often captures a baby's tastebuds for life, continuing into adulthood. Applesauce is easy to make, easy to digest and nutritious. Applesauce is low-fat and high fiber, containing vitamins A, B and C along with the minerals calcium, iron and magnesium. Using applesauce as a cooking ingredient adds nutrition and flavor to your family's meals, and it provides a base for sauces and moistness for baked goods that tempt the tastebuds of even your pickiest eater.
You can make applesauce in the microwave or on top of the stove. The slow cooker makes good applesauce as well. Wash, peel and core apples for applesauce. You probably won't need to add water to make applesauce -- An apple is 91 percent water, reports the University of Kentucky Extension Service -- but you can add a little water to keep the apples from sticking. You can use the blender to make your applesauce baby food texture, but that is not necessary for applesauce you use for cooking. Add sugar to tart apples and cinnamon or cloves for spicy flavor to the applesauce if you choose, but most homemade applesauce is tasty without extra ingredients.
Applesauce as a Substitute
Applesauce is a substitute for oil in recipes, but it should not replace all the oil, according to Ochef. If you are making a moist cake and want to substitute applesauce for a cup of oil, substitute about 3/4 cup of applesauce and use 1/4 cup of oil. Baked items need some oil for texture. Experiment with applesauce or other fruit puree as a substitute for some of the oil in your next baking project. You save calories and create a healthier dessert with an applesauce substitution.
Main Dish Meals
Baked chicken dishes take on new flavor with added applesauce and spices. Use an applesauce mixture much like a basting solution, pouring it over the chicken before baking. Stuff pork chops with applesauce, spices and nuts before baking for a delicious main dish. Add applesauce to meatloaf and meatballs for juice and flavor. Applesauce and cheese create a tasty combination for quiche or biscuits.
Baking With Applesauce
Cake, muffins, pie and cookie recipes using applesauce as the fruit of choice are available in cookbooks and online. You can substitute applesauce for other fruits in recipes or combine fruits like cranberries or sour cherries with applesauce for sweetener. If you don't have time to make fresh applesauce, use a jar or two of baby food for your cooking or baking project. Use applesauce when you need moisture, filler or flavoring in your cooking.
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables
- Ochef: Substitutes for Fats in Baking
- New York Apple Association: New York Apple Country Apple Sauce Recipes
- USDA: Applesauce, Canned, Unsweetened, Without Added Ascorbic Acid (Includes USDA Commodity)
- Orangepippin.com: Apple Fun Facts
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images