If you happen to have kids who never want to miss a cup of applesauce for their school lunch, chances are you may have stocked up packs of applesauce in the pantry.
Not only kids, but adults also love applesauce. It is perfect for a snack, side dishes, condiments, and baking. With a half-full jar of applesauce sitting in the fridge for a week, you may start wondering if it’s still good to be on your dinner plate? Does applesauce go bad?
Does the situation above sound similar to you? Read through this article to find out more interesting knowledge and answers to the most common questions about applesauce shelf life, both for store-bought and homemade applesauce.
How to Store Store-bought Applesauce
Commercially-prepared applesauce is usually sold in a glass jar, single-serve cup, and pouch. The product was pasteurized before being put into the packaging. Thus, making it safe to be put on a shelf without refrigeration.
An unopened pack of applesauce should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place away from sources of heat and sunlight. Just like other packaged food, your kitchen pantry or cabinet is an excellent place for storage. Before opening, storing it in a refrigerator is not necessary.
After opening, always remember to tightly close the lid when not in use and let it sit in the fridge until next use.
How to Store Homemade Applesauce
Applesauce is widely available in the store. But, you can also make a homemade version of it. Making homemade applesauce is another way to preserve apples when they’re abundant in stock during the season.
If you decide to make homemade applesauce, there are at least three ways to store it and extend the shelf life. First, if you plan to use it in the recipes anytime soon, you can safely refrigerate it in a sealed container. Wait until the sauce is cooled down before putting it into the fridge.
Second, canning homemade applesauce is a great idea to preserve the sauce. In fact, it is getting more popular as the process is not as complicated as it sounds.
Make sure the jars are thoroughly sterilized before filling in the sauce. When the jar is filled with the sauce, sterilization is done once again to kill the remaining microorganisms. When the jars are completely cooled, it can be stored in your kitchen pantry or cupboard. Make sure the place is cool, dry, and away from sunlight and heat.
Third, you can freeze applesauce in a freezer-safe container, resealable freezer bag, or ice cubes trays.
How Long Does Store-Bought Applesauce Last?
An unopened pack of commercially-produced applesauce is relatively shelf-stable. Check the “best before date” stamped on the label as guidance. This date is an estimate that products should retain in their prime quality.
Proper storage is a must. Applesauce may stay good for the next few months after passing the date. However, it is also possible that applesauce goes bad before the date if not stored properly or if the container is damaged.
After opening, applesauce should always be stored in the refrigerator. Each producer may have a different estimation on how long it should be consumed after opening. These periods may vary due to different ingredients and processing methods. In general, it is best to consume it within 7 to 10 days.
How Long Does Homemade Applesauce Last?
The shelf life of homemade applesauce depends on which preservation method is used. When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, homemade apple sauce will last for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
If applesauce is packed into a glass jar and sterilized, it will last up to 8 to 12 months. Once opened, it is best to consume within a week.
Frozen applesauce also last pretty long, up to a year.
How to Tell if Applesauce is Bad
Always use this rule of thumb when checking food items: observe the look, smell, and taste. Using your senses always comes handy when observing if food has gone bad.
If your applesauce develops unpleasant smell, change in color, or even mold growth, don’t take the gamble, it is time to discard it.
If applesauce still looks completely fine, try to taste a small amount. If the taste is okay, you can always use it. If you’re nothing but unsure about your applesauce, don’t ever risk your health over a half-full jar of applesauce. Move on, it is time to open a new pack.
If you happen to have an unopened jar or bottle of applesauce, but the package is leaking or damaged, also discard it for safety reasons.
Short answer, yes. But, you may expect a change in texture and taste. After thawing, the applesauce may get a little bit watery.
Don’t freeze the applesauce in its original plastic container. During freezing, applesauce will expand and may explode. Transfer the sauce into a freezer-safe container and tightly seal it. Adding labels and dates may help to know how long it’s been in the freezer.
After thawing, use applesauce immediately and don’t put it back into the freezer.
It is possible that after the date, applesauce will stay good. This date is an estimated date provided by the manufacturer to guarantee that the product retains its quality until that day. However, try not to eat a product that has long passed the date.
If you are not sure, try to do a quick safety test to tell if the applesauce has gone bad or not. If you think no spoilage signs are observed and the taste is still acceptable, you may consider to consume it.
If we talk about an opened pack of applesauce or leftover, following the rule of thumb for food storage, it is best to put it back in the fridge in 2 hours. Failing to do so may cause food spoilage and the risk of getting food poisoning.
You can store homemade applesauce in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. However, always make sure to check for signs if it goes bad before consumption.
Applesauce is not only known as a kids’ favorite lunch snack but also a great company for many dishes, even for baking and making smoothies. Either store-bought and homemade applesauce can go bad after some time.
It is best to give applesauce proper storage to maximize its shelf life. This way, you can reduce food waste and of course save some money for groceries.
If you’re doubtful if your applesauce is still good and safe to consume, especially when it was not properly stored or has passed the date, it is better to stay on the safe side and avoid consuming it.
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