I’m not a huge fan of applesauce. I can go through an enormous bag of apples in about two days, but applesauce can sit in the fridge for a week or more and I’ll forget all about it. But I do love using it for baking, and so I don’t see any particular reason why I should say “no” when a company asks if I’d like to try some of their product. That’s how Musselman’s Healthy Picks Applesauce arrived at my doorstep.
It actually turned out to be excellent timing. A couple days after I received the applesauce, I developed a sore throat and was quite ill for about a week. The first couple days were frustrating because my throat was too sore to comfortably munch on my usual food choices. Luckily I had piles of applesauce to hold me over! I had a taste of this and a taste of that to help cool my throat down some.
There are three flavours of Healthy Picks: Blueberry Pomegranate, Key Lime Cupuacu, and Raspberry Acai (kind of unrelated side rant: anyone else noticing how these days, everything with the label “healthy” on it seems to be infused with either pomegranate, acai, or goji? Anyone else getting tired of this trend? I get it, those are nutritious fruits. But there are lots of other fruits and vegetables out there which are equally as powerful in terms of nutrients. Grr. Anyway, rant over). Key Lime was my favourite flavour because it was the least sweet. It had a subtle, slightly sour taste.
I decided, when I realized I still had piles of applesauce after I had tasted them all and given some away to friends (more of that below), that rather than let the applesauce sit in the pantry for days without touching it, I would try using it instead of regular applesauce in some baking. I whipped up a batch of my favourite apple banana bread, but this time I exchanged blueberries for the apple chunks and I used one of the single serving portions of blueberry pomegranate applesauce instead of the regular applesauce I usually use.
Unfortunately I was ill when I baked the bread, and consequently I forgot the vanilla and all the spices when I was making it. Oops. But the bread still tasted really good (especially when smeared with a mixture of light cream cheese/honey/vanilla/cinnamon). I couldn’t taste the blueberry pomegranate applesauce in the bread but it worked well and I’ll be experimenting with the rest of the applesauce similarly in the future.
The product is called Healthy Picks, so let’s take a quick look at the nutrition stats: each single serving portion is 70 calories, 3 grams fibre, 10 grams sugar (=2.5 tsp), and 25% of your vitamin C intake. The really important part of the packaging, however, is the ingredients list!
This is the ingredients list for Musselman’s Healthy Picks Key Lime Applesauce: apples, water, dextrin (soluble fiber source), apple concentrate, cupuacu concentrate, key lime concentrate, passionfruit concentrate, calcium lactate (USP grade) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The other flavours are very similar but with some “natural flavour” and “natural colour” added in there.
All in all I’m fairly pleased with the nutritionals. The sugar is all from the fruit and I like that they are sweetened and flavoured with natural ingredients (except for “natural flavour/colour”; those aren’t the best ingredients. And I think it actually takes away from the applesauce considering that those two things aren’t in the Key Lime yet it’s my favourite. Real is best!).
I felt that I can’t really do an applesauce review justice when I don’t care much for applesauce either way, so I enlisted one of my best friends (and the editor of my novella, and my workout buddy), Alana, to give you all another opinion:
Before I review Musselman’s applesauce, let me clarify something. You are probably wondering why someone else is sharing their opinion about a product the wonderful [editor’s note: awwww!] Sagan received. There is a simple reason… I am culturally Jewish, and she is not. Therefore, applesauce is a biological forte of mine.
Taste-wise, this stuff is fantastic in isolation. Blueberry pomegranate, raspberry acai, and key lime all burst with flavour, although it is a little strange until you get used to the fact that the applesauce doesn’t actually taste like apples. However, let’s chat about fact that it says ‘HEALTHY PICKS’ in giant letters on the packaging. I prefer it when my food doesn’t lecture me, thank you very much. Clearly, if it wasn’t for that message, I would be forever doomed to select only additive-filled obesity-inducing applesauce for the rest of my life. Somehow, I doubt that glaring label will make anyone drop their twinkie in favour of pureed fruit.
The applesauce is organic (whatever that means… but I won’t even get started on that one), which is a plus. Although, I can’t pretend that the organic or sugar-free labels offset the fact that Musselman’s is in single-serve, throwaway, foil-topped, effectively unrecyclable little plastic containers. Anyone with any sort of modern sensibilities or social-environmental conscience shouldn’t go within ten miles of packaging like that. If you’re so concerned about HEALTHY PICKS, you might as well multitask and spoon applesauce from a large glass container into Tupperware in the morning. That way, there’s a reduced chance of cancer, and you’ll probably burn about four calories. Double bonus.
Musselman’s texture is different than any other applesauce I’ve had, but not unpleasant. I like it, but given the pretentious, fancypants nature of the flavours, you wouldn’t catch me putting it on my latkes any time soon. And, given my Jewness, there is one overriding deciding factor: price. I haven’t seen how much the applesauce costs (thanks Sagan!), but I feel that my deeply ingrained bargain instinct will lead me far away from Musselman’s. If you need me, I’ll be in the bulk aisle.
Questions? Comments? You know where to leave them. Alana’s the real applesauce expert here so I’m sure she’ll drop in on the comments if you’ve got any questions for her!
If you’d like to win your very own Musselman’s Healthy Picks Applesauce, just leave a comment below telling me what you like to use applesauce for in recipes. I love mind for bread recipes; it replaces fats so very nicely without much difference at all.
You know the drill; I’ll use a random number generator but if there’s any comment which really makes me giggle/think, that trumps the random number generator 😉 And if you have anything specific to say to Alana and she gets vocal in the comments, well, I just might let her pick the winner instead. Have fun!
Winner will be posted next Friday, August 21st.