Applesauce couldn't be much easier to make at home, but brands have made it just too darn convenient to buy it in six-packs and pop in a lunchbox. Even if you're planning on eating your applesauce in a more adult fashion (with latkes or pork chops for dinner), jarred applesauce is a tempting option if you're short on time. So we've decided to put 11 popular brands to the test.
We didn't try any of those berry or fruit-flavored imposters -- just the real stuff. Pure apples. We judged the applesauces on flavor and texture, hoping to find something with intense fresh apple flavor and a homemade texture -- nothing too pureed or reminiscent of baby food.
Though applesauce is known to be relatively low in calories and sugar, we were a little surprised and embarrassed that our favorite was found to contain both high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. Very bad, but it tasted oh so good. (Our taste test was conducted blindly, so we had no idea that our favorite was the syrupy culprit until after we learned the results.)
And the loser? It ended up being a very popular brand that several of our editors have been purchasing for years -- we just may be changing things up next time we hit the grocery store.
Check out the slideshow below to see the results! And leave us a comment to let us know what your favorite is.
18 grams of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup -- yikes! Comments: "Perfection. Deep apple flavor." "This is the most apple-y tasting." "This would be great baked in cookies and desserts." "This must be what I ate as a kid." "Nice texture and tastes the most like apples." "Totally pleasant." musselmans.com
12 grams of sugar, made in Canada Comments: "Nicely bright and tart." "Light flavor with nice thickness." "Tart and lemon-y -- Granny Smith-esque!" "This tastes like real apples." "Sour, like green apples." applesnax.com
25 grams of sugar, including high fructose corn syrup Comments: "Very smooth, and tastes like apple pie filling." "Sweet and tart with good texture." "Perfectly sweet and tart -- tastes like a New England apple!" "I kind of like this because it tastes like my childhood." motts.com
11 grams of sugar Comments: "Earthy, but not very tart. This was possibly made with bland apples." "Nice thickness and texture." "Sweet at first, then bland." "Pretty bland, but workable." "Chunky, tangy and full-flavored." "A little gritty." wholefoodsmarket.com
13 grams of sugar, made in France Comments: "Great apple flavor, but it's baby food-like." "Almost too smooth, but it tastes like apple cider." "Tastes like candy -- very sweet." "Strange in texture, but it's got a nice mild flavor." gogosqueez.com
13 grams of sugar Comments: "This has to be baby food. It has a pretty color but disappointing flavor and texture." "Baby. Food." "I was excited about this because of the pretty pink color, but it's kind of bland." "Tastes okay, but it's not special." vermontvillageapplesauce.com
9 grams of sugar Comments: "Great chunks, but there's no depth of apple flavor." "Slight tartness." "A little acidic, but pleasant overall." "I got a piece of pith in mine."
12 grams of sugar Comments: "Tart and bitter!" "Tart but no sweetness -- bummer." "Citrusy and tart." "Sour, sour, sour."
10 grams of sugar Comments: "Tastes bland and definitely not homemade. It has that artificial applesauce flavor." "This has no flavor." "Dislike!" "Watery with a slight apple flavor." "Strange bubblegum flavor." edenfoods.com
11 grams of sugar Comments: "Undistinguishable odd flavor -- chemical-like." "The taste has a hint of shellfish. Weird." "Weird aftertaste and ugly color." "Not like applesauce at all!" "What is this?" solanagold.com
12 grams of sugar Comments: "Bland and starchy. Disappointing." "This is tart and has absolutely no flavor." "Bland." "Where's the apple flavor?" "Bland and sour at the same time." "Almost rotten." motts.com
Previous Taste Tests:
Bottled Iced Coffee
Chai Tea Bags
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Hot Chocolate Mix
Jarred Tomato Sauce
Kettled-Cooked Potato Chips