Why You Should Add Lemon To Homemade Applesauce

As the end of summer approaches and we find ourselves closer to fall, we enter the season of all things pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon flavored. But while a day out in the sun picking apples with friends or family always makes for a fun outing, it also always comes with the question, what am I going to do with all these apples?

While many people may rush to complex baking options like apple pie or turnover, which require making pastry doughs, another less obvious idea may go overlooked: homemade applesauce. Although applesauce may seem like one of those staple foods that's just easier to go buy in a jar at the store, The Daily Meal notes that this kid-favorite side dish is healthier, more natural, and better tasting when made at home, and — if the apples aren't too expensive — comes with a negligible price difference. According to Southern Living, all you need to make this sweet treat right at home are apples, a sweetener of your choice, and a dash of lemon.

Keeping it fresh

Lemon is actually key to bringing out all the delicious, fresh flavors of homemade applesauce. As Southern Living notes, lemon juice is highly acidic and helps bring out the brightness of the apples while balancing out the sweetness. Furthermore, Live Strong explains that lemon juice is an excellent natural preservative, so, much like it prevents fruit salad from browning, it helps keep your applesauce fresh.

To make the best-tasting applesauce you've ever had, core and chop some apples and cook them with water, lemon juice, and a sweetener (typically sugar, brown sugar, or honey) until the apples get soft. Once softened, blend them to your preferred consistency and add any extra spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. Then, pop the sauce in the refrigerator and allow it to chill. It can then be enjoyed as a snack, a side dish, or even a dessert.

Any type of apple can be used for applesauce, so it doesn't matter which varieties your local orchard has on offer, though it may be best to use apples that are at least semi-sweet. The Spruce Eats recommends sweet apples like Fuji or Golden Delicious or slightly tart apples like McIntosh or Jonamac, while Southern Living recommends a combination of sweet and tart apples for a balanced flavor.