Applesauce is a tricky thing to portion, especially if you make it from scratch. Even if you buy the jarred version, it won’t last too long, and chances are you’ll be left with more than you can use in a couple of days.
The good news is that you can freeze it, and the only downside of doing so is that you’ll have to wait for it to defrost. That’s as good as it gets when it comes to freezing food!
The whole process only takes a few minutes, and you’ll only need to plan ahead when it comes to thawing applesauce. You can defrost it quicker, but it does mean that you can’t refreeze it.
Keep reading to discover the best way to freeze applesauce, how to get the most out of it, and how to defrost it properly.
Should You Freeze Applesauce?
When it comes to freezing fruit (see also How To Freeze Oranges), you’ll notice that the structure of the fruit itself will break down, becoming mushy and much softer than the fresh version.
If you’ve ever tried to freeze raspberries or blackberries, you’ll know how different the thawed versions are, compared to their fresh counterparts. In most cases, they’ll become very mushy, making them only suitable for baking.
Whether you have a very smooth and velvety applesauce, or a very chunky version, applesauce will get slightly mushy, but it won’t be a dramatic change.
Applesauce is mushy to begin with, so it doesn’t matter. The changes will be pretty much unnoticeable, especially if you use it when it’s piping hot.
You’re only likely to notice the difference if you try a spoonful of the thawed stuff and then compare it to fresh applesauce.
Does Store-Bought Applesauce Freeze Differently From Homemade Applesauce?
Homemade applesauce and store-bought applesauce both freeze fine with no problems.
There’s not a big enough difference between the ingredients or the texture to make one better than the other when it comes to how it behaves after freezing.
Freezing homemade applesauce is a great way to extend its shelf life, especially if you don’t want to can it.
To save time and money, especially where it comes to buying ingredients in bulk, it’s a great practice to make a huge batch of applesauce and freeze anything you don’t need to use that day.
This will also save you some time later when it comes to using the applesauce, as some of your dish is ready!
It is worth mentioning that you can freeze homemade applesauce no matter how you made it, how much sugar you included, or the texture you went with, or how you cooked the apples (see also Freezing Apples), or what apples you chose.
All of these variations don’t factor in when it comes to freezing the applesauce, as it’ll freeze perfectly well however you choose to make it.
When it comes to store-bought applesauce, it only makes sense to freeze it once you’ve opened the can or jar, and you have some leftovers which you won’t be using anytime soon.
Otherwise, the applesauce will keep just fine in the can for up to two years, if you leave it unopened.
The jarred stuff will also last a relatively long time before you have to think about freezing it.
Store-bought applesauce usually contains vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. This stops the sauce from browning too quickly, but this ingredient won’t affect the freezing process.
How Do You Freeze Applesauce?
Freezing applesauce only takes a couple of minutes. The most trouble you’ll have is to decide how to portion the applesauce for freezing.
Make sure the applesauce is completely cool before you try to freeze it.
Portion The Applesauce
When it comes to portioning the applesauce, consider how you’ll use it once it’s thawed. Applesauce freezes solid, so you’ll struggle to divide it when it’s still frozen.
If you’re unsure, you can freeze it in single-serving portions, and if you need more, you can take more from the freezer as you need it.
This option does prevent defrosting more than you need at a time, cutting down on any potential food waste.
Choose Your Container
Decide what you’ll put the applesauce in. Each container has its advantages and drawbacks.
You can use freezer bags, airtight containers which will stay rigid as the sauce freezes, or ice cube trays.
Freezer bags do take up less space than containers, but you’ll need to make sure that they are leak-proof. Applesauce will also defrost faster if it’s frozen flat in a freezer bag.
Rigid containers do take up more space, and you’ll need to put a lot of applesauce into them to prevent freezer burn, but they won’t get crushed if you put something heavy on top of them.
When it comes to the ice cube method, it’s the fastest way of freezing the applesauce, but you’ll need to do it in batches if you have a lot to freeze, so it can be time-consuming.
Whichever type of container you choose, decant the applesauce into them, allowing about an inch of space at the top for the sauce to expand as it freezes. Seal the container, label it, and freeze it.
If you choose the ice cube method, only wait as long as it takes for the applesauce to freeze, before decanting it into a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Seal the bag, and put the bag in the freezer.
How long the applesauce takes to freeze depends on which container you choose, and how much applesauce you’re trying to freeze at once.
To make life easier, here are some estimates. The time may vary depending on where you place the applesauce in the freezer, and the temperature of the freezer.
Applesauce in ice cube trays can take up to 4 hours to freeze solid.
For freezer bags, it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on how large the portion is.
Anything bigger may take up to 8 hours to freeze, depending on how much applesauce you have to freeze.
How Long Can You Leave Applesauce In The Freezer?
Frozen applesauce will keep its quality anywhere from 3 to 6 months in the freezer. It will still be safe to eat after that, but the flavor may be affected, and it may have freezer burn.
Aim to use the applesauce within 3 months if you can, to retain its quality. The longer it sits in the freezer, the more likely it is you’ll completely forget about it!
How Do You Thaw Applesauce?
The best way to thaw applesauce is to transfer it into the fridge, the night before you want to use it.
It will be ready in the morning, and the quality will be better compared to some of the faster ways of thawing.
Once it’s thawed, take it out of the fridge and let it warm up on the counter for about ten minutes to get it nearer to room temperature.
If You’re In A Hurry
If you don’t have 8 hours to spare, or you just want it to defrost quicker than that, you can transfer the whole bag or container into a bowl of tap water, still defrosting it in the fridge.
This does cut down on the time it needs to defrost to a few hours, instead of overnight. It does mean that you can’t refreeze it, however.
Maybe this method is not quick enough, maybe you’re cooking a dish now, and applesauce is a vital component, and you’re looking for a faster way.
Here are some options for you to consider.
Use The Microwave
You can use the microwave if you prefer, but it’s very easy to overcook the applesauce instead of just thawing it. Make sure to transfer the applesauce into a microwave safe container.
Set the microwave to defrost, or set it to low. Heat the applesauce for a minute, and stir. Shorten the time to 20 seconds, stirring between each burst, and repeat until the applesauce is piping hot.
On The Hob
You can also defrost the applesauce on the hob. This is a great way to do it, as it won’t dehydrate the applesauce like the microwave can if you’re not careful.
Decant the applesauce into a saucepan, and put it on a very low heat, stirring continuously.
This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and the smell of the applesauce filling your kitchen is also a benefit.
Can You Refreeze Applesauce?
If you defrosted the applesauce in the fridge overnight, you can safely refreeze it without any trouble.
If you opted for one of the quicker defrosting methods, it’s not safe to refreeze the applesauce. You’re better off just using up the extra portion before it goes off.
I’m sure you can twist someone’s arm into eating it!
It is worth noting that every time you freeze the applesauce, the quality will deteriorate a little more, so keep this in mind.
Refreezing it once will be okay, but you will probably notice the difference between just-thawed applesauce, and refrozen applesauce.
It’s fine as a last resort if it means that you won’t waste the applesauce, but using it as soon as you thaw it is the better option, as the quality will be much better, and the flavor won’t be impacted.
How To Use Thawed Applesauce
Thawed applesauce can be used any way you like. Because there’s very little texture changes that the applesauce goes through, there’s no reason why you can’t treat it as fresh applesauce.
This is perfect, as other foods that you freeze can only be used in cooked dishes, but that’s not the case when it comes to applesauce.
This means that you can use the applesauce in baking, as a delicious topping, or adding to savory dishes to add an extra element, or in any other way that you can think of.
Applesauce is a great thing to have on hand when you feel a dish needs something special.
While homemade applesauce is very satisfying, it doesn’t last very long as it contains no preservatives, compared to the store-bought stuff.
Freezing it is a viable option, especially when you consider that you can treat it the same as you would use the fresh version.
Store-bought applesauce can also be far too much when you only want to use it in a single recipe, for example, so freezing the leftovers where possible makes a lot of sense, and it will also save you money.
It’s also very helpful that applesauce doesn’t take too long to defrost, allowing for plenty of possibilities when it comes to using it.
The only disadvantage – if there is one – is that refreezing it is only viable as a last resort, so make sure to portion it carefully when it comes to freezing the applesauce.