Little things bother me. To take the most immediate example, the name of this item is clearly written as "apple sauce" in large, all-caps on the front of the label, but then "applesauce" in smaller print on the back. Grrrrr. Which am I supposed to use when referring to your product, Trader Joe's?
As for more substantive matters....
Like all good Americans, I was raised with Musselman's applesauce, which, I realize in retrospect, has quite a bit of sugar added to it. I think the first time I had unsweetened applesauce was at Nina's house, shortly after I moved to Asheville. I remember being ambivalent about it--not because it was bad, but because it differed from my reference of how applesauce was "supposed" to taste.
I am not one bit ambivalent about this TJ's version. It is delicious. It's enough to convince me once and for all that good applesauce does not need additional sugar. The ingredients here are apples and water--full stop. If it can be this good, why throw in anything else?
By the way, if, like me, you are unfamiliar with Gravenstein apples, see here.
Will I buy it again?
Yes indeed. Until I find something better (which I kind of suspect will never happen), this is my new first choice in applesauce.
After writing the above, I bought another jar of this. I also bought a jar of TJ's non-Gravenstein applesauce, so that Nina and I could try them simultaneously in a taste test. It was no contest, a blowout. (See tomorrow's post for more details.)
On the basis of a second highly satisfying purchase, I'm going to exercise my blog-owner's prerogative and elevate this to my Top Ten list. Yes, it's that good.
This is a truly superior applesauce. When I was growing up, occasionally my Mom would make homemade applesauce, which was AWESOME, and this stuff reminds me of the mom-goodness. What higher compliment can there be?
Addendum, December 8, 2016
It's been nearly two years since writing this post. I stand by it 100%, including the Top Ten list status. I'm just writing to add that I can't count how many jars of this stuff I've been through since then. I am never without a jar or two in my fridge, and it's one of my most frequent snacks and desserts. I've never encountered a bad sample. It comes down to this: I never buy any other applesauce, and never will, as long as Trader Joe's keeps making this one.