Have you ever want­ed to turn mak­ing apple­sauce into a fun activ­i­ty for young chil­dren? Mak­ing home­made apple­sauce with chil­dren is a fun, healthy, and deli­cious activ­i­ty. More­over, apples are a great source of fiber and nutri­ents that are good for chil­dren’s brain health, heart health and immune sys­tem health.

Making Applesauce

Turn­ing a hum­ble apple into a tasty treat is very easy! With just a hand­ful of ingre­di­ents and a cou­ple of steps, you’ll have your­self a delight­ful bowl of fresh, home­made applesauce.

Applesauce Ingredients:

  • 3 medi­um cored apples (Leave the peels on for a fiber boost!)
  • ½ tea­spoon cin­na­mon — to sprin­kle in a bit of magic!
  • 3 table­spoons water
  • 1 ½ tea­spoon maple syrup — because who does­n’t love a hint of maple?
  • 1 ½ tea­spoon lemon juice or apple cider vine­gar — for that per­fect zing!

How to make applesauce

  1. Prep­ping the Apples: Dice those apples into cute ½ inch cubes. If you’re in the mood for a sweet­er treat, reach for Gala, Fuji, or Hon­ey­crisp apples. But hon­est­ly, any apple in the fruit bowl will do the trick.
  2. Cook­ing Time: In a medi­um saucepan over medi­um heat, toss in your apple dices, water, cin­na­mon, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Pop the lid on and let them sim­mer away for about 15 min­utes or until those apples have soft­ened up real nice.
  3. Process and Blend: Once cooled down a bit, trans­fer the apple mix into your trusty food proces­sor or blender. Give it a whirl until you have a glossy, smooth apple­sauce. If your blender is refus­ing to coop­er­ate, driz­zle in a lit­tle water, one table­spoon at a time, to get things moving. 
  4. Enjoy: Allow the sauce to cool and enjoy!
  5. Store and More: Store any left­over apple­sauce (if there is any!) in the refrig­er­a­tor. It’ll be good for up to 5 days.

Cooking Applesauce with Children:

Chil­dren love get­ting their hands a bit sticky and messy, so let them in on the fun! They can:

  • Mea­sure out the maple syrup, lemon juice, water, and cinnamon.
  • Give every­thing a good stir in the pot.
  • Serve up the fin­ished applesauce!

Safe­ty First: Remove the seeds before puree­ing. Apple seeds con­tain tiny amounts of cyanide.*

Extra Fun: Why stop at apples? The world of fruit is vast and var­ied. Try whip­ping up some peach, man­go, or pear sauce next time. Every fruit brings its unique flair to the sauce party!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the world’s largest apple peel was cre­at­ed by Kathy Wafler Madi­son in Rochester, NY, in 1976? It was 172 feet 4 inch­es long! 🍎🎉

Health Benefits of Apples

Nutri­tious: Apples are nutri­ent-dense fruits pro­vid­ing essen­tial vit­a­mins and min­er­als. For instance, one medi­um apple offers:

  • Calo­ries: 104
  • Carbs: 28 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Vit­a­min C: 10% of the Dai­ly Val­ue (DV)
  • Cop­per: 6% of the DV
  • Potas­si­um: 5% of the DV
  • Vit­a­min K: 4% of the DV
  • They are also a rich source of polyphe­nols, which are respon­si­ble for many of apples’ health benefits. 

Top Nutritional Benefits of Apples

Low­ers Cho­les­terol — Apples may help reduce lev­els of bad cho­les­terol in the body. 

Pro­tects Against Dia­betes — Reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of apples may low­er the risk of devel­op­ing type 2 dia­betes. The polyphe­nol quercetin** in apples might play a role in this pro­tec­tive effect.

Boosts Brain Health — Apples have prop­er­ties that can enhance brain health. Quercetin in apples may also pro­tect the brain from oxida­tive stress dam­age and might have pre­ven­tive prop­er­ties against Alzheimer’s disease. 

Rich in Dietary Fiber — Apples pro­vide essen­tial dietary fiber, which aids in diges­tion and over­all gut health. Read below for more on fiber!

Strength­ens Immune Sys­tem — The antiox­i­dant quercetin found in red apples can for­ti­fy the immune system. 

Bone Health — Apples can con­tribute to stronger bones and help pre­vent bone-relat­ed ailments. 

Weight Man­age­ment: Apples are high in fiber and water, mak­ing them fill­ing. They can help in weight man­age­ment and may reduce Body Mass Index (BMI).

Heart Health: Apples have been linked to a low­er risk of heart dis­ease due to their sol­u­ble fiber con­tent and polyphe­nols, which help low­er cho­les­terol and blood pressure. 

Gut Health: Apples con­tain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a pre­bi­ot­ic, pro­mot­ing the growth of ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria in the gut. This can help pro­tect against chron­ic diseases. 

Can­cer Pre­ven­tion: Antiox­i­dants in apples may offer pro­tec­tive effects against cer­tain types of can­cers. Apple polyphe­nols might inhib­it the mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of can­cer­ous cells. 

Asth­ma Pre­ven­tion: The antiox­i­dant quercetin in apples may also help reduce air­way inflam­ma­tion relat­ed to aller­gic asthma.

What about Fiber?

The amount of fiber in an apple’s peel can vary based on the size and vari­ety of the apple. On aver­age, a medi­um-sized apple with its skin con­tains about 4 to 4.5 grams of dietary fiber. A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of this fiber is found in the peel itself. Remov­ing the skin can decrease the fiber con­tent by approx­i­mate­ly half, so if you’re look­ing to max­i­mize your fiber intake from apples, it’s best to eat them with the skin on. Always wash apples thor­ough­ly before con­sump­tion to remove any dirt, pes­ti­cide residues or contaminants!

The rec­om­mend­ed dai­ly fiber intake for preschool chil­dren varies based on age and gen­der. Here are the gen­er­al guidelines:

  • Chil­dren aged 1–3 years: 19 grams of fiber per day.
  • Chil­dren aged 4–5 years: 25 grams of fiber per day.

Want to Cook More with Children?

Look­ing for more fun recipes you can make with chil­dren? Read our blog on Overnight Oats. It’s a favorite!

*What’s wrong with cyanide? 

Cyanide is a rapid­ly act­ing, poten­tial­ly dead­ly chem­i­cal. Ingest­ing even small amounts can inter­fere with the body’s abil­i­ty to use oxy­gen, lead­ing to seri­ous tis­sue dam­age, res­pi­ra­to­ry fail­ure, and in severe cas­es, death. Apple seeds con­tain a tiny amount of a form of cyanide called amygdalin. 

The amount of cyanide pro­duced by a few apple seeds is gen­er­al­ly not harm­ful. One would need to con­sume a vast num­ber of apple seeds (and effec­tive­ly crush or chew them to release the amyg­dalin) to expe­ri­ence tox­ic effects. It is advis­able not to con­sume large quan­ti­ties of apple seeds, but the occa­sion­al inges­tion of a few seeds is not like­ly to be harmful.

**What is quercetin?

Quercetin is among the many health­ful com­pounds found in plants. Onions con­tain the high­est amount of quercetin, and in addi­tion to apples it can be found in cher­ries, broc­coli, and oth­er fruits and veg­eta­bles. Quercetin has anti-oxida­tive, anti-inflam­ma­to­ry, anti-car­cino­genic, anti-dia­bet­ic, anti-aging, and anti-viral properties.

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