Sugar-free Vanilla Cardamom Berry Applesauce


A tasty breakfast, snack, or side, this berry applesauce isn’t just for kids!

For August, Recipe Redux asked us to raise the bar on food in a jar. I think this elevated berry applesauce answers the call.

I learned lots about food in a jar from my grandmother. Every summer we jarred tomatoes. Cooked them down with basil, sugar, and salt, letting them boil until the skins separated from the pulp; boiled the jars and lids; and created an assembly line of fillers and closers as huge pots of hot tomatoes swooped into her basement summer kitchen.

We still use Gram’s method to jar tomatoes today. That’s the method I use to jar anything, my applesauces, fruit, pickles – anything. Don’t know if it’s textbook. I know it works. Since I love making big batches of food to save me time, preserving food in jars ensures I stockpile that tasty food on my shelves so I have it any time I want.

Unique Flavors Make Sugar-free Berry Applesauce Special

I love vanilla and cardamom together, especially with lemon and berries. What a combo! Combining flavors like this helps enhance the natural sweetness and tartness of the fruit. That way, we don’t need to add any outside sugar. How awesome is that?

Cardamom as a Digestive Aid

Cardamom is a spice found in the Middle East, North Africa, and Scandinavia. It’s best bought in the pod, otherwise the seeds lose their flavor. Its plant family is similar to the ginger plant. There is green and black cardamom. I generally use the green.

Flavor wise, cardamom has a little spice, although not peppery. It’s also been described to have almost a citrus or floral note. Some people describe a eucalyptus flavor. It’s nothing I’ve ever tasted, and I love it. It enhances baked goods, poultry, meat, fruit, veggies, and fish. It’s often used with coriander in Middle Eastern cooking and found in Chai teas and coffees.

It’s used like ginger and can settle the stomach from nausea and be used as a digestive aid to keep the bowels moving. It can also help to flush and cleanse the kidneys. Tasty and many health benefits in cardamom!

Here’s what whole green cardamom in the pod looks like:


Here’s what the cardamom seeds look like:


Sugar-free Vanilla Cardamom Berry Applesauce Recipe

Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free

Recipe Redux: Vanilla Cardamom Berry Applesauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: About 2 quarts
  • 12 cups chopped apples (about 8 large apples or 3½ lbs)
  • 6 cups blueberries (or mixed berries of your choice)
  • 10-12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 TBS vanilla extract OR 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 2 TBS water
  • ¼ tsp salt
Ahead of Time:
  1. Wash and chop apples into uniform pieces (large dice), leaving skins on. You can put your lemon juice on your apples as you chop them so they don't brown.
  2. Wash blueberries.
  3. Remove outer shell from cardamom pods, remove seeds, and whiz them in a spice or coffee grinder until finely ground and fragrant. You will smell the cardamom!
  4. Slice the vanilla bean (if using) and remove the seeds from the bean.
  1. In a 6-8 quart stock pot, over medium heat, add the apples, blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla bean (the seeds and the bean) or extract, cardamom, water and salt.
  2. Stir often so the fruit doesn't brown.
  3. Once the fruit begins to soften and release moisture, raise the heat to medium high to bring the mixture to a strong simmer/light boil so the fruit can break down.
  4. Cook partly covered (I cock the lid) and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fruit is broken down and soft, and flavors have come together.
  5. Remove vanilla bean (if used) and put your mixture into a high powered blender and whiz until completely smooth and creamy. (If you have a strong blender, like a Vitamix, the skins will pulverize fine.)
  1. Store in an airtight containter and refrigerate OR
  2. Preserve in small Mason jars using your preferred jarring technique
Copywright: Angela Marinelli, M.S., M.Ed., Nourishment Connection 2013

Here’s what my berry applesauce looks like cooked down right before I puree it:


Here’s what my final berry applesauce looks like:


What’s Your Favorite Way to Jar Food?

There are a few different jarring techniques. I still use Gram’s:

  1. Bring the food you are jarring to a boil, ensuring that is it heated to that temperature all the way through.
  2. Bring a stock pot of water to a boil for your clean jars and lids.
  3. Boil your jars and lids immediately, just before filling. Do not touch them with your hands once they are sanitized.
  4. Remove sanitized jar with wide mouth tongs.
  5. Place a canning funnel on top of your jar and fill it with boiling hot contents.
  6. Fill to the top of the jar, leaving about 1/4″ of space. Keep the rim of the jar clean. If you spill on it, wipe it with a clean towel. Do not touch it with your hands.
  7. Use a magnet stick to pick up the sanitized lid out of the boiling water.
  8. Place the lid on the jar with the magnet.
  9. Use your finger to hold down the lid and you screw the lid closed with your other hand.
  10. Seal the jar tight. You should hear it “pop.” That is the seal closing. If your jars don’t pop, they aren’t sealed.

Maybe you have an easier method? This is all I’ve known. Gram, this delicious vanilla cardamom berry applesauce is for you! 🙂

6 Responses to "Sugar-free Vanilla Cardamom Berry Applesauce"
    • Cardamom is the 2013 spice! I can’t seem to get enough. I love it in savory cooking and baking. I’m addicted to a hint of it on everything from fish to quinoa to spice cake, ice cream, and applesauce. It’s the new lemon! 🙂

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