Determining if a product or food is vegan can sometimes be like solving a puzzle, even when it seems straightforward at first.
The challenge comes when manufacturers hide the true nature and source of their ingredients.
This article aims to reveal the truth and help you in your noble pursuit of living a vegan lifestyle.
Is Applesauce Vegan?
Yes, applesauce is vegan. Traditional applesauce, whether homemade or store-bought, is typically made from apples, water, and sometimes sweeteners and spices which are all vegan-friendly ingredients.
For the most part.
As a vegan, if you’re not buying organic applesauce, you’re better off getting unsweetened applesauce. Sugar is often filtered through animal bone char during processing. While the practice is losing popularity in favor of new substances, such as activated charcoal, it’s still relatively common around the world.
Is Applesauce Cruelty-Free?
You’d think applesauce would be cruelty-free. I mean, it’s basically just squished apple, right? Well…it’s not that simple.
You see, apples are GMO. Thirteen million pounds of genetically engineered apples were produced in the US in 2020. If you’re not buying organic apples and applesauce, you’re eating GMO foods that have been tested on animals.
Plant-based sweeteners are often GMO, as well, and artificial sweeteners are tested on animals. So, again, unless it’s organic, some element of it has been tested on animals, so only organic, unsweetened, non-GMO applesauce is cruelty-free.
What Is Applesauce Made Of?
Before we delve into the specifics of each ingredient, let’s take a look at the basic ingredients usually found in applesauce:
- Sweeteners (like sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar)
- Spices (like ground cinnamon)
- Acid (like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar)
Apples are the heart and soul of any applesauce recipe. They can be tart apples for a more tangy applesauce or sweet apples like Golden Delicious or Fuji apples for a sweeter applesauce. Apples are naturally gluten-free, vegan, and loaded with beneficial nutrients.
Don’t forget the GMO though.
Water, a universal solvent, is vegan and is used to simmer and soften the apples as they cook over medium heat.
Sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar add a sweet taste to the applesauce. They are plant derived and usually, but not always vegan. They’re less often cruelty-free.
Spices like ground cinnamon enhance the flavor of the applesauce. Spices come from plants, making them vegan friendly.
Acid, like fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, is often added to maintain the color of the cooked apples and add a bit of tanginess. While these acids are vegan friendly, avoid GMO.
Vegan Alternatives to Applesauce
Since applesauce is already vegan (in its purest form, before corporations get their hands on it), it’s often used as a vegan alternative in baking recipes. As an egg substitute, it can make baked goods moist and delicious without the need for dairy or eggs.
Here are a few other vegan alternatives to eggs or dairy in baking:
- Pumpkin puree
- Chia or flax seeds (mixed with water to form a gel)
Remember, if you’re buying store-bought brands of applesauce, always check the label to make sure there are no added non-vegan ingredients — and go organic. These days organic isn’t even much more expensive than non-organic. You’re worth the extra 15 cents.
Alternatively, make homemade applesauce with organic apples. It’s much easier to make sure you’re getting vegan applesauce if you make it at home with just organic apples and a blender or a potato masher (for a chunky applesauce).
Applesauce is a delicious and versatile food that is not only vegan but also cruelty-free. Its primary ingredients — apples, water, and sometimes sweeteners and spices — are all plant derived.
Not only does applesauce make a delicious snack on its own, but it’s also a fantastic vegan substitute in many baking recipes.
So whether you’re making your own applesauce at home or picking up a jar at the store, you can feel good about including applesauce in your vegan lifestyle.