How long does applesauce last?

If you’ve found a jar or two of applesauce sitting in your pantry for a year or two and wonder if it’s still good, you’re in the right place. While, obviously, applesauce has a shelf life, it often lasts much longer than it says on the label. It all depends on how it has been stored and whether or not it was canned properly. Let’s go through the most important information regarding shelf life of applesauce.

Applesauce with cinnamon
Photo by Stacy Spensley on Flickr.

How to store applesauce?

Unopened jars, bottles or packages should be stored in a cool and dark area, preferably in the pantry. If it’s a glass jar or plastic bottle, make sure it’s way from direct light. When it comes to temperature, cool is preferable, but at the very least make sure the temperature doesn’t vary a lot. If you can’t fit it in the pantry, storing applesauce in a cupboard is fine too, as long as it’s away from heat and sunlight.

Freezing is also an option if you’d like to keep applesauce for longer (possibly indefinitely). When freezing, make sure you leave some headspace in the container (it will expand once frozen). To defrost frozen applesauce, transfer it into the fridge. After a few hours, it should be ready to use. If you intend to use the whole package at once, thawing in cold water or microwave are other possibilities. If you plan to use it over the next few days, stick with thawing in the fridge. Please note that after thawing the consistency will become more mushy and watery. If that’s okay for what you need the applesauce for, then freezing is a-okay.

Once applesauce is opened, it should be stored tightly closed and in the fridge.

How long does applesauce last?

Unopened applesauce is good for at least 12 to 18 months after the production date, provided it’s stored properly. Once the bottle is opened, it should stay good for up to two weeks if stored in the fridge.

Keeping opened applesauce on the countertop isn’t a good idea. It will start losing quality quickly and might go bad even after a day or two. If you’ve accidentally left applesauce on the table overnight, make sure you give a thorough check before consuming. If it’s sitting on the table for only God knows how long, just toss it out.

Homemade canned applesauce
Photo by Alan Levine on Flickr.

What about fresh homemade applesauce?

If you’ve made a bunch of applesauce and didn’t decide to can it, transfer it into a tightly closed container and into the fridge. You can keep it there for up to a week. If you need it to keep for longer, freezing is also an option.

How to tell if applesauce is bad?

This is fairly simple. First off, check the container, jar or package applesauce is stored in. If it’s leaking, rusting or damaged, get rid of it. If the package is alright, check out its contents. If you can see any signs of mold, discard the whole package right away. If it smells bad, same thing. If it appears and smells okay, taste a bit. If the flavor is okay, the applesauce most likely is okay too.

Is applesauce safe to use after the “expiration” date?

If it’s unopened and was stored properly, chances are it’s just fine. In most cases store-bought applesauce doesn’t have an actual expiration date. Instead, it has a “Best by” (or one of other “Best …” variations) date that estimates how long it will remain at best quality. After that date, the quality will probably start to deteriorate slowly, but applesauce most likely won’t go bad, provided the package is left intact.

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