If you don’t know, now you know. I am a fan of the Instant Pot and it’s been a lifesaver in the kitchen for me. I recently took a trip to a local Apple Orchard and I had apples coming out my ears. I didn’t have room for the apples in my house anymore and we couldn’t eat them fast enough so, applesauce AND butter it was!
While I love eating apples as-is or with a spoonful of peanut butter, I can only eat so many apples in a week. If you know me you know that I have more of a savory and salty preference so I’m far more likely to reach for carrots and sliced peppers than I am to grab for fruit. That’s not to say I don’t eat fruit it’s just that I probably only have 1-2 servings max per day. Vegetables? Endless.
That being said, I hate wasting food and I would’ve hated to waste our hard picked apples. So, I got to work last weekend in the kitchen. I’ve made applesauce before but figured I’d find a way to solidly do it in the Instant Pot AND also make some apple butter.
Growing up, my mom would give us applesauce as dessert. I preferred it warm and with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then as I grew up I’d request different desserts (or no desserts) and really forgot about applesauce altogether. That was until I did a sugar-detox challenge back in grad school. I was craving something sweet so I figured I’d grab some applesauce (with no sugar added). I would often mix it with almond butter and cinnamon, which, by the way, is amazing.
Anywho, applesauce isn’t just for kids anymore. Anyone can enjoy applesauce and I promise homemade applesauce is nothing like the colorless plain, ill-tasting store-bought brands. If you spice it up correctly AND use the peel, you’ll get such a rich flavor you’ll be going back for more, both warm and cool.
Say what?! Okay, when I hear apple butter (or pumpkin butter) I hear SUGAR LOADED DESSERT that people use for breakfast. Yeah, I know a bit dramatic, but I’m a dietitian, so forgive me.
The ingredient list of a typical apple butter include apples, apple cider or juice, spices, sugar, natural flavors, etc. So basically apples with sugar.
This ingredient list!? The same as applesauce just cooked longer, that’s it! When trying to thicken any food there are normally 3 main ways to do so: cook longer, add fat, and/or add flour. I figured, let’s see if cooking longer would allow the applesauce to thicken into apple butter. I figured if that didn’t work I’d add some cornstarch or other gluten-free flour. Well, it cooked down pretty fast and solidified enough once cooled. Magic!
So now my refrigerator is stocked full of applesauce and apple butter. I’m going to need to give some away or get my canner back from my friend because I once again don’t want this to go to waste!
Applesauce & Apple Butter for Athletes
As a sports dietitian, I am always being asked what to eat pre & post workout. While apples can be somewhat high in fiber per serving, I have found that some athletes tolerate applesauce as it’s partially broken down for you already. I’d suggest if you are going to make these for training (maybe pack them in these—link for pouches), to make it without the peel. The flavor will still be the same but the color of the dish may be a bit different, no big deal.
For pre-workout or post-workout
Enjoy 1 cup for about 28g of carbohydrate. 1 cup only has between 2-3g of fiber as well (maybe a bit more if the peel is included), so you *shouldn’t* have any issues digesting pre-workout.
Ideas on Uses for Apple Sauce & Apple Butter
I’d be remiss to not give you other ideas on what to do with applesauce and/or apple butter. While you can certainly eat as-is as I often do, you may want some other ideas.
- Applesauce + 1-2 Tbsp. almond butter + dash of cinnamon
- Greek yogurt + 2 Tbsp. Apple Butter + 2 Tbsp roasted chickpeas
- Rice Cake + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter + 1 Tbsp Apple Butter
- Mix 1-2 Tbsp in your oatmeal
- Mix 2+Tbsp into a smoothie
- Make a peanut butter & Apple butter sandwich
- Warm up applesauce, top with cinnamon, walnuts and enjoy!
What other ways have you used or will you use your applesauce and/or apple butter?! I love learning from you guys, so please share in the comments, or better yet tag me on Instagram!
Pro tip: add your own flavor by changing up the seasonings OR leave the spices out and add at time of consumption.Print
- 4–5 lbs apples, cored & quartered (about 10 apples)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Juice of half lemon, optional (to help last longer)
- Place all ingredients in an Instant Pot, close & seal, and cook on Manual-High for 5 minutes
- Natural release pressure for 10-15 minutes
- Using an immersion blender (or place in a blender) puree to desired consistency.
- STOP here for apple sauce.
- For Apple Butter: turn Instant Pot to saute (low) and allow apple sauce to bubble/simmer for 10-15 minutes ensuring to stir frequently. Turn off and allow apple butter to cool.
What is your favorite apple recipe?
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