Let's get sauced
We tried 11 brands of apple sauce. Find out which brands were in our top five!
Whole Foods 365 Organic Unsweetened
"Tastes like apple pie filling, but not as sweet," said one taster. This one from Whole Foods' 365 line was the thickest and slightly chewy, but still smooth. It starts out sweet, but finishes with a crisp refreshing note.
Each half cup serving has 60 calories, 0 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Musselman's Natural No Sugar Added
When we casually polled our Facebook fans about favorite apple sauce brands, Musselman was a crowd favorite. We have to agree with you, Facebook land. It had a nice sweet-tart balance, with intermingled apple flesh pieces. It had the highest sugar content of our winners, but since it's natural fruit sugars, it didn't have a candy-sweet aftertaste.
Each half cup serving has 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Trader Joe's Unsweetened Gravenstein
Though on the lumpy side, we liked that you could see and taste the apple bits. If you want smoother, or are planning to drink it through a straw, forget this Trader Joe's Unsweetened one (they also have an organic version). It's pretty sour and tangy, so if you want sweeter, try their cinnamon variety.
Each half cup serving has 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Vermont Organic Unsweetened
The darkest in the apple sauce line-up (tan instead of the usual light yellowish-beige applesauce hue), this one comes from Vermont Organic, the first company to sell additive-free, no-sugar-added, all-natural applesauce to supermarkets. As their label explains, they were certified organic before it was cool. The dark color might have affected us subconsciously on some level—it looked more from-scratch. But it actually tasted it too. Not too sour, this one's more on the sweet side. Made in small-batch kettles, 9 to 12 apples go into each 24-ounce jar. Very smooth, almost too smooth, but still with some apple flecks hiding in there.
Each four-ounce serving has 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.
THE WINNER! Tree Top No Sugar Added
With enough West Coast transplants in the office, we couldn't ignore TreeTop. Widely available up and down California, this is what many tasters grew up on. Perhaps an applesauce cognition theory should be applied here, a la pizza cognition theory? It would go something like... the first apple sauce a child sees and tastes, becomes, for him, apple sauce. But it was undeniably the favorite, even for the non-West Coast-born! It seems silly to describe applesauce as apple-y, but this was the most reminiscent of fresh-picked fall apples. The texture was also pleasant: not mealy or grainy, nor watery.
Each half cup serving has 70 calories, 0 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
Apple Sauce Rainbow
The colors ranged from pale beige to canary yellowish to golden-amber.