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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Enjoy: Allow the sauce to cool and enjoy!
- 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.