There’s nothing quite as delicious as homemade applesauce!
With just the right type of apple, plus a little hint of spice, it’s a healthy treat enjoyed by babies (and grown ups!) everywhere. And – unlike some commercial brands – applesauce you’ve made yourself will be free from sugar and preservatives.
What more could a baby ask for?
It’s important to choose the perfect apple for baby
That’s because some varieties are just too tart and you’ll end up needing to sweeten the dish after all.
But there are certain varieties that are absolutely perfect for making applesauce for babies and our favourites include…
- Golden Delicious
- Red Delicious
We tend to avoid the following, all of which our little ones have found too tart…
We love to choose apples with a reddish/pinkish skin and cook them without peeling
That’s because the skins turn the applesauce a beautiful pink colour!
The only exception here would be Red Delicious apples – whilst the apples themselves are sweet, we find the skins quite bitter.
If you’re unsure about the wisdom of cooking apples in their skins, please do read our in-depth article…
This recipe is suitable for babies from 6 months of age…
…but you can offer it from 4 months if your doctor has suggested introducing solids earlier than is usually recommended.
If it is a first food for your little one, start out by cooking the apple WITHOUT any spices, then you can try it again WITH the spices a few days later.
Remember – spices should be treated like any new food and introduced separately, at least 4 days apart.
How to make applesauce for babies
Preparation couldn’t be simpler!
First, assemble your ingredients…
- 4 apples
- water, or – for a more robust flavour – unsweetened apple juice
- cinnamon stick, or a good pinch of ground cinnamon/ground nutmeg
- Take the apples and remove the cores. Peel if desired.
- Chop the apples roughly and place them in a saucepan.
- Add around an inch of the water or apple juice.
- If using a cinnamon stick, add it now.
- Bring the mixture to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for around 10 to 15 minutes. (The common mistake here is to continue to cook the apples until they break down and actually LOOK like applesauce. But this is OVERcooking and will leave them tasting watery and bland. The apples are perfect when they are nice and tender, but still holding their shape).</em>
- Remove the soft chunks from the pan using a slotted spoon and – if you didn’t use a cinnamon stick – add your pinch of ground cinnamon or nutmeg now.
- Either mash well (peeled apples only or you will have big pieces of apple skin), or puree to perfection in a baby food processor. Add some of the cooking liquid back in if you need a thinner texture.
Voila – baby’s applesauce is ready and you can either serve it warm or cold.
Tips for making applesauce for babies
- If your applesauce tastes a little too sour, mix it with a mashed banana – the ideal natural sweetener!
- Applesauce is ideal for freezing. If you plan to freeze it, don’t worry about adding the spices until it’s thawed and ready to serve, otherwise they tend to lose their flavour.
- For a sweeter sauce – or just for a change – use a mixture of pears and apples instead.
- Try adding all sorts of other fruits for delicious taste combos (and for extra nutrients too)! Blueberries taste wonderful, whilst a handful of raisins will add a welcome boost of extra iron.
- Use applesauce to encourage your baby to try things he’s reluctant to eat. We often serve it as a dip with veggies, or a sweet sauce for meat.