What to do with all those beautiful cherries? They’ve been on sale for weeks now and hopefully you have been enjoying them as much as me! If you went a little overboard, and have some extra sitting in the fridge, fear not. This Cherry Vanilla Applesauce takes about 30 minutes to make and eats more like dessert than a healthy snack. But with no added sugar, it’s completely natural, healthy, guilt-free, and totally delish!!
Applesauce as a Treat?
I like treats. To create them without adding sugar, or other crappy stuff always feels like a win.
It’s time to move on from the ’70’s and stop thinking about applesauce as a boring side dish to pork chops. If you blend it well and combine it with other flavors, it’s yummy enough to stand up on its own. It’s amazing the flavor you can get out of fruit, just by cooking it with a few simple ingredients.
This Cherry Vanilla Applesauce is so creamy and delicious I find myself eating it more as a dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth after dinner or a mid-afternoon craving. The good news? It’s pretty much like eating a bowl of fruit. Score!
A Note About Almond Extract
Almond extract can have a strong flavor, so I add small amount at a time. If I add too much, I find it has an artificial taste, so start with less (1/2 teaspoon). If you find you want a stronger almond flavor, I suggest adding more when you are blending your applesauce and adjusting your final seasoning.
What’s Your Favorite Way to Jar Food?
There are a few different jarring techniques. I still use my Gram’s:
- Bring the food you are jarring to a boil, ensuring that is it heated to that temperature all the way through.
- Bring a stock pot of water to a boil for your clean jars and lids.
- Boil your jars and lids immediately, just before filling. Do not touch them with your hands once they are sanitized.
- Remove sanitized jar with wide mouth tongs.
- Place a canning funnel on top of your jar and fill it with boiling hot contents.
- 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.
- Use a magnet stick to pick up the sanitized lid out of the boiling water.
- Place the lid on the jar with the magnet.
- Use your finger to hold down the lid and you screw the lid closed with your other hand.
- Seal the jar tight. You should hear it “pop.” That is the seal closing. If your jars don’t pop, they aren’t sealed.
This method is straight from my Gram!
Sugar-free Cherry Vanilla Applesauce
Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Refined Sugar-free, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free
- 5 cups chopped apples (about 4 large apples)
- 5 cups cherries
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½-1 tsp almond extract (depending how strong you want the almond flavor)
- 2 tsp water
- pinch sea salt
- 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.
- Wash and pit cherries.
- In a 6 quart stock pot, over medium heat, add the apples, cherries, lemon juice, vanilla extract, almond extract, water and salt.
- Stir often so the fruit doesn't brown.
- 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.
- Adjust heat as needed and cook partly covered (I cock the lid) and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until fruit is broken down and soft, and flavors have come together.
- Immediately 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.)
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate OR
- Preserve in small Mason jars using your preferred jarring technique