Apple puree concentrate appears in many products, from apple juice to breakfast cereals. It is derived from high quality apples and apple parts that are pureed and mixed with a preservative. Nothing else is added to this food, which is classified as a natural flavoring. The finished product can be stored frozen for up to two years. When you buy a product that lists apple puree from concentrate as an ingredient, several elements have gone into creating the flavoring.
Manufacturers of apple puree concentrate use whole apples — minus the cores and stems — and apple pieces that are left over from other processes. They are pureed in an industrial food processor to make a thick paste. The paste is thicker than applesauce, which has water, sugar and other additional ingredients.
The puree includes ascorbic acid, a preservative, to keep the color light and to ensure that the puree concentrate stays fresh for two years. According to Chemical & Engineering News, ascorbic acid inhibits the enzyme in the apple puree that would normally cause the apple to ripen after it leaves the tree. The preservative stops this enzyme from being produced, which keeps the pureed apples a uniform color and very fresh. Ascorbic acid is also known as vitamin C. Home bakers use citrus fruits containing vitamin C as a natural preservative to keep apples from turning brown color while cooking.
Another important element in the apple puree concentrate process is the reconstitution process. Manufacturers who use the puree in their products must add water to make the paste easier to work into the recipe. Apple juice makers add water to reconstitute the apple puree concentrate for the juice being made. One manufacturer, Emerling International Foods, uses a ratio of five parts water to one part puree in its reconstitution process.
The apple puree concentrate is packaged and shipped in dense, plastic bag-like containers, barrels and metal canisters. It does not arrive in the cardboard containers that you buy in the grocery store. That juice is concentrate and has water, sugar/corn syrup and other ingredients in it. The puree is denser, and contains nothing but ascorbic acid and apples.
References and ResourcesLimkon: Apple Puree Concentrate
Northwest Naturals: Apple Puree Concentrate
Chemical & Engineering News: What's That Stuff Food Preservatives; Louisa Dalton
Emerling International: 100% Pure Apple Juice Concentrate