Applesauce Production

Firm, mature apples produce the best-quality applesauce. Usually two to five cultivars of apples are blended for uniformly high-quality sauce. Apples are transferred into a hopper where the cultivars are blended. Next they are run over sizing chains to grade out the smaller apples, which are used for juice. Apples are then inspected for decay and other blemishes such as hail marks, deep bruises, and scab lesions. Fruit are washed with potable water and peeled and cored using high-speed peeling machines. Peeled apples are further inspected for dark bruises, stems, or calyx remnants. Peeled apples may be conveyed by flume with an antioxidant such as citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent the fruit from browning. Peeled apples are either chopped or diced and then processed in a cooker with live culinary steam at temperatures between 100 and 114°C, depending on the apple texture and the sauce characteristics desired. Other ingredients such as cinnamon, flavoring, purees, and sweeteners may also be added to the cooker, depending on the type of sauce being produced. Cooked apple material is run through a finisher screen with pore size ranging from 0.056 to 0.238 centimeters to remove seeds, carpel, peel, and other defects. Finished sauce is collected in a kettle and stirred constantly. Sauce is then filled into containers at a minimum temperature of 87.5°C to control microorganisms that cause spoilage. These containers are allowed a two- to three-minute sterilization time to sanitize the caps and headspace prior to cooling. Cooled sauce should be in the 37.4 to 42.9°C range for color and quality retention. Containers are then labeled, placed in cartons, and stacked on pallets. Pallets are moved to finished goods warehouses for storage and subsequent shipment.

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