Here’s all about the shelf life, storage, and going bad of applesauce, both store-bought and homemade. Learn how long it lasts after opening, how to tell if it’s spoiled, and what’s the proper way to store it.
You have some leftover applesauce, but no plans to use it just yet. That makes you wonder: how long does applesauce last in the fridge?
Or one of your applesauce jars is a few months past its date, and you’re thinking: does applesauce go bad?
An unopened jar of applesauce lasts for years, but once you open it, the clock starts ticking. And how long open applesauce is good for depends heavily on the brand you chose.
Want to learn about the shelf life, storage options, and going bad of applesauce? Read on.
How Long Does Applesauce Last
|Applesauce (unopened)||Best-by + 2 – 4 months|
|Applesauce (opened)||7 – 10 days or what the label says|
|Homemade applesauce||7 – 10 days|
Unopened applesauce lasts for at least a couple of months after the date on the label. After opening it, it keeps in the fridge for at least 7 days, though some producers allow storing their applesauce for up to 30 days.
If you need more time than that, consider freezing the leftovers.
Using “expired” applesauce
Store-bought applesauce pretty much always comes with a best-by or best-before date. That date is an estimate of how long the product should retain freshness. It’s not an expiration date and has nothing to do with food safety.
So, how long is applesauce good for after the “expiration date”?
There’s no way to know for sure. The best answer I can give you is that it should last at least 2 to 4 months past that date.
Of course, over time, the quality of the sauce slowly degrades. That means a jar that’s 3 months past its date won’t be as good as a fresh one. But the difference should be minimal.
You have to refrigerate open applesauce and it keeps for about 7 to 10 days in the fridge. But as I already mentioned, some producers offer different storage periods.
For example, Holmes Applesauce recommends finishing their product within 30 days of opening.
On the other hand, we have Leahy, which suggests keeping their applesauce for no longer than 5 days after opening.
If you can’t be bothered to check the manufacturer’s recommendations, and it’s not clearly written on the label, go with the general advice above. Otherwise, it’s safest to stick with what the seller suggests.
How to Tell if Applesauce Is Bad?
If your jar is still unopened, check if everything is intact. That means there are no leaks, and the lid is sealed (if there’s a button on it, it’s not popped).
If the jar is damaged, assume that the applesauce is bad, no matter if it shows any signs of spoilage or not.
Next, it’s time to give the applesauce a check.
Throw out applesauce if there’s any mold or any other organic growth on the surface, or it develops an off or “funny” smell. Either one of these is a sure sign of spoilage.
A thin layer of brown, discolored applesauce on top is perfectly normal. That’s called browning, and nothing to be concerned with. You can swirl it in or scoop out if it bothers you.
Besides that, remember the storage time constraints.
If your applesauce is opened for way more than the recommended period, toss it out. Like with most food products, the first signs of spoilage are impossible to notice. And it’s always better to err on the side of caution with products that require refrigeration.
If everything seems to be okay with the applesauce up to this point, give a small amount a taste. If it tastes okay, feel free to use it. Otherwise, it’s past its prime, and you should discard it.
How to Store Applesauce?
Unopened applesauce jar should sit in a cool and dark area, away from any light and sources of hear. The pantry is the best choice, but a cupboard in the kitchen is a-okay too.
The sauce is pasteurized and commercially sealed so that there’s no chance of microbial contamination. Therefore, there’s no need to put it in the fridge.
Once you open your applesauce, refrigerate the leftovers in a tightly sealed container or jar. In most cases, the container the sauce comes in is resealable, so that’s not an issue.
Last but not least, food hygiene.
The most important thing to remember here is to always use clean spoons when handling applesauce. Using a spoon you already used for scooping anything else (double-dipping) is a big no-no.
If you ignore this suggestion, you might end up with a nice patch of mold on the surface of your applesauce within a couple of days. Just saying.
Can You Freeze Applesauce?
You can freeze applesauce without any extra prep. The only downside of freezing stewed apples is that they change texture after freezing and thawing – the sauce becomes watery.
Sure, giving it a good stir will help, but don’t expect miracles. The slightly altered consistency is here to stay.
If you want, you can strain the excess water using a fine-mesh strainer. That should help.
Now, for some of you, that change of texture might be an issue. For others (like yours truly), not so much.
Nevertheless, in many recipes, and especially in baked goods, that alteration is not that big of a deal. If you strain the excess water, your apple pie (or what have you) should be fine.
Related: Does Apple Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
It’s best to start with freezing a small amount and testing thawed applesauce in your recipe. This way, if things go south, it’s not a tragedy.
When it comes to how to freeze applesauce, it depends on your needs.
If you expect to use all the leftovers in a single dish, feel free to pour the sauce into a freezer-safe container and chuck it into the freezer. Don’t forget to leave some headspace, as the applesauce will expand slightly.
If you prefer to have it portioned, I suggest freezing it using an ice cube tray (or a muffin tin) for small portions, or freezer bags for larger ones.
To defrost your frozen applesauce, place it in the fridge the night before you need it.
Homemade applesauce typically keeps for about a week in the fridge.
Some recipes come with a slightly longer suggested storage time, while others go with the classic “use leftovers within 4 days” recommendation. If possible, go with what the recipe’s author suggests.
If the recipe doesn’t mention storage time, or you got a jar or two of canned applesauce as a gift, go with the 7 days I started this section with.
Once again, if that period is too short, freezing the leftovers is the best option.