Store-bought applesauce may be a convenient option, but it just doesn't pack as much flavor as the kind made from scratch. The apple taste in jarred applesauce is oftentimes muted and in other cases can be so sour you have to add your own sugar or cinnamon. With this homemade applesauce recipe, however, you get the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, and it's all thanks to the addition of an ingredient you'd usually drink rather than cook: kombucha.
Most applesauce recipes call for only four ingredients: apples, lemon juice, sugar, and water. But according to Zane Adams, fermented food expert and cofounder of Buchi, using kombucha makes all the difference.
Rather than simmering the apples in water, you do so in kombucha, infusing the applesauce with another layer of flavor. In addition to the sourness from the lemon juice and apples and the sweetness from the sugar, you also get a unique tang from the kombucha. When the apples cook down and the sugars in the kombucha and lemon juice caramelize, the resulting flavor tastes naturally sweet instead of overwhelmingly sugary, and the apple taste still shines through. Once you puree the apples and mix in ground cinnamon, allspice, and salt, you'll be left with a warm, rich applesauce like you've never tasted before. (To add even more flavor, you can also choose a flavored kombucha such as ginger or berry.)
You can eat this kombucha applesauce on its own or spread it on top of toasted bread like apple butter, and it can even be used as a butter substitute for vegan baking, Adams says. Here's how to make it step by step.
- 5 apples
1/2 cup Buchi kombucha (or any variety you like)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of sea salt
- Add coarsely chopped apple pieces to a large saucepan along with kombucha, granulated sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat, cooking apples for 20 to 25 minutes or until apples begin to soften and fall apart.
- Remove from heat and blend softened apples in a food processor or using a hand blender until smooth.
- Return puree to saucepan, and set over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar to taste, along with spices and salt.
- Gently simmer while covered, stirring occasionally to avoid burning at the bottom. Your applesauce is finished when it reaches a deep caramel in color and is thick enough to hold its shape on a spoon.
- Transfer to a jar or airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to three weeks. Enjoy!
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 20 minutes
- Total Time
- 39 minutes, 59 seconds