Rhubarb applesauce is a pretty pink twist on homemade applesauce with a unique sweet tart flavor ~ this recipe is so easy to make!
Fresh homemade applesauce is a lovely thing, but when you add tart rhubarb into the mix, wow! Sweet juicy applesauce suddenly takes on a whole new personality. And a pretty pink color, too! I’ve been dreaming about this sauce for a couple of rhubarb seasons, but somehow never got around to it. Maybe our recent move to the Midwest inspired it since the Amish around here love to make fruit flavored applesauce. I picked up a pretty jar of strawberry applesauce at the farmer’s market this weekend which started my recipe-makin’ wheels turning. Instead of sweet on sweet, why not introduce tart rhubarb for a really spectacular applesauce recipe?
we love rhubarb recipes!
- Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- Forgotten Rhubarb Recipes
- Rhubarb Crumble Tart
- Rhubarb Martini
- Rhubarb Soda
- Rhubarb Jelly
- Easy Rhubarb Cake
ingredients for rhubarb applesauce
- I used Granny Smith apples because they’re firm and tart. Use what you like.
- The redder your rhubarb the pinker your sauce.
- The sugar balances out the tartness of the apples and the rhubarb. You can reduce it or use an alternative sweetener if you like. If you use a sweeter apple you can omit it entirely.
- large stainless steel or other non-reactive pan
- food processor, blender, immersion blender, or food mill
making rhubarb applesauce
step 1. Load your non-reactive pot with apples, rhubarb, sugar and water
Nonreactive pans such as stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, or glass do not react with acidic ingredients, and prevent any metallic tastes from being imparted to the fruit.
Step 2. Cook for about 20 minutes to soften
After a few minutes the fruit will start to lose moisture and you’ll see that your pan is not quite so full after all. That 1/2 cup water is plenty to get the process started. It’s unlikely, but if your mixture seems too dry you can add a bit more water, or cover the pan while it cooks.
Step 3. Puree
I prefer to use my food processor rather than a high speed blender because I think it does a better job of processing just enough but not too much. I like a little texture in my applesauce.
Step 4. Fill jars
I fill the jars while the applesauce is hot. Of course you can chow down on your rhubarb applesauce right away, or at least taste it, it’s pretty amazing when it’s warm.
Step 5. Chill or freeze
Let the applesauce cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.
canning rhubarb applesauce?
We know you can safely can rhubarb, and you can safely can applesauce, but I could not find any authoritative recipe for canning rhubarb applesauce. How frustrating! So I contacted canning authorities including Ball® and The National Center for Home Food Preservation, about canning rhubarb applesauce and unfortunately they don’t officially recommend it because they haven’t specifically tested it for canning safety. My instinct tells me this is fine to can, but I can’t in good conscience recommend it. Frustrating, but there you have it.
The good news ~ this sauce can be easily frozen for up to a year. Just be sure to leave headspace in your jars to allow for expansion in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use the frozen applesauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Once thawed, give it a good stir to recombine any separated liquids and ensure a smooth consistency.
playing with the proportions of rhubarb applesauce
As written, this recipe yields a subtle rhubarb flavor. It adds tartness and a nice background berry notes from the rhubarb. You could increase the rhubarb to apple ratio for a stronger flavor, up to a 1:1 ratio. With more rhubarb you may want more sugar, so be sure to taste as you go.
No two batches of rhubarb applesauce will be the same, and that’s because rhubarb varies so much in color. Of course darker red rhubarb will lend more pink tones to the sauce. But no worries, even if your rhubarb is green you’ll still get that famous flavor (and a couple of drops of red food coloring never hurt anyone.)
rhubarb applesauce FAQs and tips
What else can I use instead of rhubarb in this recipe?
- You have lots of options: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pears, or peaches are just a few ideas.
What other flavorings can I add?
- You can add a touch of vanilla, or a hint of spice like cinnamon or cardamom. Nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or ginger can also be used. Ginger can be used fresh or powdered.
What about alternatives to sugar?
- You can use just about any sweetener or alternative sweetener you like. Honey, maple syrup, or your favorite sugar substitute can be used. You can go completely sugar free, as well. The apples will provide natural sweetness to balance the rhubarb for a tart applesauce.
shop my props!
- food processor, blender, immersion blender, or food mill
- 5 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and quartered*
- 1 ½ lbs trimmed rhubarb, sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sugar**
- 1/2 cup water
- lemon juice, if needed
- Put everything in a large Dutch oven or stainless steel pot and give it a good stir. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
- Turn the heat down and let the mixture boil for about 20-25 minutes, stirring often. You want the fruit to break down and soften. Let cool for several minutes before proceeding.
- Working in 2 or 3 batches (depending on the size of your processor or blender) blend the mixture until smooth. I find a food processor works best for this. The sauce won't have any lumps, but will retain some texture. Note: Use caution when pureeing hot foods.
- Taste your applesauce and add a bit of fresh lemon juice if you think it needs it.
- Transfer the applesauce to your storage jars and allow to cool completely before capping and refrigerating.
- Your homemade rhubarb applesauce will last about a week. Freeze for longer storage.