Monday, November 21, 2011

Fermented applesauce

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It probably sounds weird and gross to you.  I hope not though!  Let me reassure you that fermented applesauce tastes just like regular applesauce--perhaps a bit more tangy than you are used to if you like really sweet applesauce.  While fermented foods are not common or popular in the standard American diet of today, fermented foods have been traditionally found in cultures all around the world. It used to be a common means of preserving foods prior to refrigeration. With pasturization, refrigeration and far less home cooking, fermented foods have nearly disappeared from the popular modern diet.  We need to bring them back. 

Fermentation is an amazing process that nutritionally enhances the food it preserves.  Fermentation partially breaks down/pre-digests the food, making it easier for your body to digest the food.  Fermented foods are rich in enzymes, which also aid in our digestion.  And when your digestion of the foods you eat improves, your absorption of the nutrients improves. (Just because you eat something doesn't mean you absorb the nutrients from it.)  Fermentation also typically increases the vitamin content in the food, and fermented foods bring beneficial flora to your gut which are necessary for good health. 

If you've never fermented anything, applesauce is a simple and tasty way to start.  I recently tried out two different recipes to see which we would like better.  On the left is a raw applesauce, and on the right is a cooked applesauce.  I let my husband and kids try both and asked them all which they liked better.  We all liked...


...the one on the left best. I was a bit suprised, because when I started to make the raw applesauce, I was not too hopeful! It just didn't seem like applesauce. However, once it fermented, it was delicious. The flavor is so much more apple-y and fragrant compared to the cooked sauce.  And it has a bit of substance to it--you can see the one on the right is a little runny.  One perk to the raw applesauce, is that, being raw, it is actually more nutritious.  But either recipe you try, being fermented, they will both be beneficial to your bodies. 

When fermenting, pay attention to cleanliness--utensils, blender, jars should all be very clean.  This will prevent contamination.  Also use your nose.  If the applesauce smells odd or foul, throw it away and don't eat it. The applesauce should smell like applesauce.

Fermented Raw Cinnamon Applesauce
Makes 1 quart jar.
(I found the gist of this recipe here.)

Dice 3 large apples and place in a blender.
Add 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 1 T whey, 1/2 tsp. sea salt.
Blend until they are pureed. 
You may need to add a little bit of water to help them blend.
Pour the applesauce out of the blender and into a glass quart jar.
Fill the jar up to 1 inch below the top.  (This is important.  Always leave 1 inch between the food and the lid to prevent explosions.)
Screw the lid on tightly and let sit on your countertop for 3 days.
Now it is ready to eat!
Don't be surprised if you hear a little pop or fizz when you open the jar lid.  That's a sign that the fermenation process has been at work.
Store in the refrigerator. 

Fermented Cooked Cinnamon Applesauce
Makes 1 quart jar.

Dice 3 apples and put in a pot with just a little water to prevent scorching.
Let the apples simmer and cook until soft.
Let cool.
Add 1 tsp. of cinnamon, 2 T whey, 1 tsp. sea salt.
Puree with an immersion blender.
Pour the applesauce out of the pot and into a glass jar.
Fill the jar up to 1 inch below the top. (This is important. Always leave 1 inch between the food and the lid to prevent explosions.)
Screw the lid on tightly and let sit on your countertop for 3 days.
Now it is ready to eat!
Don't be surprised if you hear a little pop or fizz when you open the jar lid. That's a sign that the fermenation process has been at work.
Store in the refrigerator.


* If you liked this post, you may enjoy viewing:
Fermenting Foods
Why Sourdough?
Keeping a Sourdough Starter
Sourdough Starter Tips
Blueberry Sourdough Muffins


34 comments:

  1. how long will it keep in the fridge?

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  2. Thanks so much for all the great information on fermenting. I knew it was good for you, but never really fermented! I will try the applesauce recipe. I am now following you. Please stop by my site and I would love a follow back @ wwww.glutenfreewithjudee.blogspot.com

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  3. This is great. Your sister shared this with us at a Whole Food Carnival. I have been wanting to try fermentation (i'm a newbie) but this seems really easy and doable. Not only that but delicious.I like having apple sauce around for baking but hate the store bought stuff. Even the organic stuff seems flavorless. I think this could be the answer.

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  4. I hope you do like the applesauce! The only thing to keep in mind is that if you use it in baking you will kill the healthy cultures. Of course, if you're fine with that and are just looking to sub in a tastier applesauce, it should work just fine. But if you're trying to get the healthy cultures, you'll need to keep the applesauce (once fermented) unheated.

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  5. @Liqidimond -- I'm sorry I missed your comment before. Fermented foods tend to keep pretty long in the fridge or other cold storage. Our applesauce was eaten pretty fast but I've had fermented carrots last for months. However, always smell and look first. If it ever develops an off-odor or there is any sign of mold or color change, pitch it. It should look, smell and taste like applesauce, just with a hint of tanginess.

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  6. Do you peel the apples or leave the skin on??

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  7. I typically leave the skin on when I make applesauce. You just need to puree it (an immersion blender works great) to break up the skins.

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  8. This past summer I canned quite a bit of applesauce. Can I use that for a ferment?

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  9. I would think that would work just fine, just follow the directions for cooked fermented applesauce starting with the next direction after "let cool."

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  10. My daughter has a dairy allergy could I use lemon juice in place of the whey?

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  11. Rita, unfortunately as far as I know lemon juice will not begin a fermentation process like whey will. Whey starts the lacto-fermentation process of the applesauce and is necessary. I'm not sure of a substitute that would work in applesauce at this time. Sorry!

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  12. Me again:) I've been thinking I can use the whey from a new carton of the TJ organic yogurt for this. Thoughts?

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  13. Christina, I'm pretty sure that will work just fine. Just try to use the whey when the yogurt is fresh, as the bacteria are most healthy and active then. Let me know how it goes!

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  14. Have you ever frozen it after it has fermented or used whey that has been frozen? Would either of these work without loosing too much of the nutrition content?

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  15. Ingrid, I don't know about freezing whey. I would think it would still be fine, but I just don't know for sure. About freezing, I know you can freeze sourdough starter, but you need to reactivate it once it's thawed to get the cultures really active again. I would think that freezing the fermented applesauce would work, but I'm not really sure. I will see what I can find out.

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  16. Ingrid, I looked around a bit, and all I found was here: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/video-fermented-foods-and-drinks/
    Sarah, the blogger, says that most of the enzymes will survive freezing. But I couldn't find anything else to back that up. However, keep in mind that fermenting foods is a way to preserve them. You can keep fermented foods in cold storage (fridge, cool basement) for at least a few months and often longer. I've had a few jars of salsa in the fridge that I made at the end of last summer that are still good and taste delicious. You just obviously want to always check for foul smells, color changes, mold, or sliminess before you eat the food. Those would be signs that the food has likely gone bad.

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  17. thanks Christy, very helpful!

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  18. I think I may actually do this. Thank you!

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  19. Is there anything I can use in place of dairy - I am supposed to be avoiding dairy. Thanks!

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  20. Natali, I'm not completely sure of a dairy-free substitute that would work for applesauce. When making fermented vegetables, I've read you can just use extra salt in place of whey, though some people say it makes them too salty. BUT you can use the liquid from any previous ferment in place of whey when fermenting. So theoretically, you could ferment carrots, for instance, using just salt and no whey, and then use some of the leftover liquid in place of whey to ferment the applesauce. However, I don't know if that would create a weird flavor in the applesauce as I've never tried it. But that would be my suggestion as to something to try that's dairy-free. Also you could search around thenourishinggourmet.com 's blog, as Kimi has a lot of dairy substitutes for recipes as well as fermented recipes...so maybe she has a better answer for you.

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    1. I would also suggest trying liquid from a ginger bug in place of whey for dairy sensitive or vegan folks. I'm not sure that it would work, but the two are often used interchangeably in other ferments, and a little ginger flavor would be nice in applesauce, most likely. Another possibility worth trying would be raw apple cider vinegar or raw kombucha. Folks would have to experiment with the amounts, but I bet that any of those could lend enough cultures to help the applesauce ferment. I'm off to make a big pot of sauce and try fermenting it myself! Thank you for the helpful recipe!

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  21. I've heard you can use a probiotic capsule for this. Any thoughts on this? I've done this to make fermented nut cheese/spreads and it worked really well. What about water kefir?

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  22. The probiotic is an interesting idea, but I have not heard of doing that. In theory it sounds like it could work, as well as water kefir. I'm afraid I just don't know enough about fermenting yet to give a good answer. Fermenting is something I hope to dive into more over this next year.

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  23. You can mail order strains of yeast particularly selected for making apple cider from brewery suppliers like Midwest Supplies or Northern Brewer. Usually they package the yeast in sufficient quantity to ferment 5 gallons of hard cider. I wonder if using just a small portion would work to get the apple sauce going. It might be an option for those trying to avoid the dairy products.

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  24. @Anonymous -- That's an interesting thought, however this type of fermented applesauce was lacto-fermented which is different. I was however recently reading about dairy-free fermentation methods for applesauce and similar things and plan to post soon about it.

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  25. Could you just make the applesauce WITHOUT fermenting... freeze that. Then, when ready, defrost and THEN ferment?? I have two lugs of pears I'd like to make sauce, butter and leather. I just don't know how much that will give me and if my family can go through it all before it goes bad. So, was hoping to find a way to freeze some!

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  26. Shannan, yes, I believe that would work just fine.

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  27. Thank you so much for this post! I'm wondering - is the salt necessary? I'm a newbie to fermenting, so I'm not sure if it's needed for that or not. I made it and I don't care for the salt in it. My son loves it though!

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  28. @Jennifer, I believe the salt is necessary for preservation and/or fermentation. But I am not 100% certain. As I mentioned before fermenting is still new to me, particularly the science of it. I'm hoping to study more of it this year.

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  29. Instead of whey, could you use a capsule of an enzyme blend, like a probiotic culture? Thank you

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    1. I am not sure. The only types of fermenting recipes I have come across use either whey or salt. But I have not fermented much at all. You could look at Wardeh Harmon's book Fermenting for Dummies.

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    2. Sorry, blogger froze and wouldn't let me add anything...I was going to say Wardeh's book might be a good resource for you and may answer that question.

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