Fermented applesauce good to eat?
April 30, 2005 11:22 AM   Subscribe

I've got a jar of organic applesauce that started smelling sour about two weeks after I bought it. Should I eat it?

I know that it's possible to ferment your own alcoholic drinks in this way, but am I going to get wicked messed up/sick if it happened naturally? The total quantity is like 12 oz, so I'm not planning on going on a bender. Maybe having it on some waffles.
posted by breath to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I'm also interested in hearing about any "moonshine moments" anyone may have had.
posted by breath at 11:25 AM on April 30, 2005

There's only one way to find out if you'll get wicked messed up. Go for it. Eat the sour apple sauce. Go on. mmm.
posted by Panfilo at 11:32 AM on April 30, 2005

Best answer: I know people who use wild yeast to make alcohol. Apparently it's safe to drink. I've seen hard cider recipes that start with leaving a jug of cider uncapped in a warm place. IIRC, though, you're supposed to cover it back up after a few days so the little beasties that turn alcohol to vinegar don't take over. If the applesauce has been open to the air, you might have yourself a nice jar of cider vinegar by now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2005

How do you know that it's alcohol-producing bugs that got in there, not toxin-producing or vinegarizing ones? I'd think that if the wee bugs had been booze-making, it would smell boozy instead of sour.

I wouldn't touch the stuff, but then I don't want to take the chance of being tubgirl for a day or two. If you want to ferment applesauce, do it in a controlled way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2005

When in doubt, throw it out.
posted by Witty at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2005

For the love of God, why would you want to eat that? What Witty said.
posted by grouse at 4:08 PM on April 30, 2005

It might very well have fermented, depending on how gently it was processed.

Homemade apple cider, gently pasteurized (or better yet, not pasteurized at all), usually found at your local farmer's market or roadside stand, will often begin to show noticeable signs of fermentation in about a week (it gets a slight alcoholic nose, and the sweetness noticeably lessens). It is perfectly safe to drink. Many people prefer it in this state to absolutely fresh.

Sourness is usually an indication of some kind of fermentation, often lactic fermentation. It happens in ciders, dairy products, and other food items; it is the basis of sourdough breads. Lactic fermentation is perfectly harmless.

I don't know whether you will like fermented apple sauce; but I can tell you that if it smells nasty, it probably has nasty bugs in it, but if it simply smells sour (in a not wretch-inducing way), then it probably just has friendly bugs in it.

A small taste will probably tell you.
posted by casu marzu at 6:18 PM on April 30, 2005

Best answer: There are a lot more microorganisms that produce sour fermentations than ones that produce alcohol. While you could have both, it's more likely one will eventually dominate. As casu marzu said above, lactic acid isn't dangerous, but it's not something everyone likes. Let your nose be your guide and then follow with a small taste. Don't take a chance that the "survivors" don't agree with your digestive system.

Sounds like you should either buy less of the applesauce or eat more of it.

NB: The Belgians produce a lot of different beers with lactic fermentations (by opening their fermenters to the open air), so it's not like there aren't people who appreciate the sour taste. In other words, you might like it.
posted by tommasz at 6:55 PM on April 30, 2005

What tommasz said. I love me some geueze.

Should have added, even if this is a lovely, benevolent fermentation going on in your applesause, it's unlikely that there's enough alcohol content to give you even a slight buzz.
posted by casu marzu at 7:16 PM on April 30, 2005

I wouldn't eat it.

Organic applesauce is $4 here for a nice big jar - I'd rather waste $4 than waste a day (or more!) being sick
posted by seawallrunner at 8:05 PM on April 30, 2005

well you have to eat it now, obviously
posted by foraneagle2 at 11:42 PM on April 30, 2005

Organic unsweetened applesauce - $1.29 at Trader Joe's. I think that's for a 20 oz. jar. Your time if you get sick? Priceless. Throw out that sour applesauce and get some fresh, please!
posted by Lynsey at 11:50 PM on April 30, 2005

I don't want to take the chance of being tubgirl for a day or two

Did no one else catch this?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:00 PM on May 1, 2005

I don't invoke her lightly. It's one thing to calmly discuss being sick, or having mild food poisoning. Picturing... that... brings it to a more visceral level.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:23 PM on May 1, 2005

Response by poster: This is so late, but I ended up not eating it. I was like "daaaamn, I don't even really like applesauce anyway," and threw it out. The ony reason I was even considering eating it was because I thought it was fermented, which I now understand it probably wasn't. Thanks for the advice.
posted by breath at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2005

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