fermented applesauce

Three months ago I made applesauce using my lazy-man’s method. Which is:

-wash apples
-quarter them and throw them in a blender (peel, seeds, and all)
-add a little lemon juice
-puree (a heavy duty blender like a VitaMix does this beautifully).

Usually I eat the result within a few days, but this time I sealed the result in quart canning jars and put them on a shelf.

I just opened one for the first time, three months later. The seal was tightly bulging outward, so I knew some excitement was in store. And it was exciting indeed! Picture pressurized applesauce, shooting out of a jar, in all directions. Before cleaning up the mess I had just made, I had a taste of the substance coating my hands. Mmm, this is good stuff!

So what happened? Because the applesauce was never heated, it retained the natural enzymes and other microorganisms present in and on the apples. Once bottled, those little guys got down to work digesting the sugars in the applesauce (i.e. fermenting it). A byproduct of fermentation is CO2, which explains the pressure (“carbonation”) in the bottles. Was the result spoiled and unfit to eat? Not at all! The pressure and CO2 atmosphere made the environment inhospitable for “bad” bugs to multiply. In effect, the applesauce was protected in the opposite way to the normal method, which is prolonged cooking to kill as many bugs as possible, then creating an inhospitable environment with a negative (vacuum) seal.

My result is definitely more healthy than applesauce preserved in the normal way. Now I just need to find a way to release the pressure without the champagne-bottle effect!

And the taste? I actually prefer it to the original applesauce. It is has a pleasant fizzy texture on the tongue, and the taste is complex – slightly sour or tangy, and reminiscent of cider (or as you North Americans call it, “hard cider”).

Another successful food experiment. 🙂

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