Various Preservatives on the Color of Applesauce


The purpose of this experiment was to compare the effectiveness of various preservatives on the color of applesauce.

I became interested in this idea because I like apples and applesauce. Nearly all my friends like applesauce and so do my family members. I have noticed that infants are often fed applesauce as one of their first solid foods. I have also noticed that people who are sick in the hospital often are given applesauce with their meal. I also know that elderly people in nursing homes also seem to eat applesauce fairly often. Applesauce seems to be an important part of people’s diet.

The information gained from this experiment could help nutritionists and apple processors learn about the effectiveness of various preservatives on the color of applesauce. This would also help those who eat applesauce as part of their diet.


My hypothesis was that, the applesauce treated with the ascorbic acid and heat would get the highest USDA score.

I based my hypothesis on finding out that ascorbic acid works very well when making applesauce. I thought heat would even make it lighter.

Experiment Design

The constant in this study was: 

•    The raw applesauce prior to treatment
•    The type of apples
•    Amount of apples
•    Grinding method
•    General testing procedures
•    Use of colorimeter

The manipulated variable was the type of preservative used to make applesauce.

The responding variable was the color (lightness) of the applesauce.

To measure the responding variable, I used a Hunter Reflectance Spectrophotometer (colorimeter.)


1 g.
Citric Acid
Ascorbic Acid
Microwave Oven
Food Processor
Apple Peeler
Hunter Reflectance Spectrophotometer
Cutting Board


1.    Set up materials at local apple processing lab.

          A.)    Peel and core 2 apples (I used “Cameo” apples)

          B.)    Use the peeling and coring machine.

  C.)    Finish peeling off the extra skin by hand with peeling knife

2.    Treatment #1 (Ascorbic acid preservative plus heat)

A.)    Cut up two apples previously peeled and cored into 8 pieces each.

          B)    Weigh and record.

          C)    Place them all into food processor.

  D)    Add 0.3 grams of ascorbic acid to the apples in food processor.

  E)    Grind up the contents for 30 seconds, then stop.

          F)    Stir well.

          G)    Grind for another 30 seconds.

          H)    Pour all ground up contents into a cup.

  I)    Heat the applesauce (which you just made) slowly in microwave oven until it is 88° C. (190° F.)

  J)    Test applesauce with the colorimeter

  K)    Record results on the data table (shown in the   appendix)

3.    Treatment #2 (Citric acid preservative)

A.)    Repeat Steps 1 and 2, except do NOT heat or add ascorbic acid.
        B.)    Instead, add 0.3 grams of Citric acid
4.    Control Group (Applesauce with no preservative)

A.)    Repeat Steps 1 and 2, except do NOT add ascorbic acid (and do not heat)

5.    Treatment # 3 (Ascorbic acid preservative)

 A.)    Repeat Steps 1 and 2, except do NOT heat, and ADD ascorbic acid!

6.    Test each applesauce every 15 minutes, four times in the colorimeter.


The original purpose of this experiment was to compare the effectiveness of various preservatives on the colour of applesauce.

The results of the experiment was the Ascorbic acid plus heat preservative, had the highest and best USDA score. 

My original hypothesis was the applesauce treated with the ascorbic and heat would get the highest USDA score.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted, because after testing the applesauce, the ascorbic acid + heat treatment resulted in the highest USDA score.

After thinking about the results of this experiment, I wonder if we ground up the apples with a different method, would the colorimeter data still be relatively the same?  I also wonder if other types of apples, like Granny Smith, would have similar results.

If I were to conduct this project again I would grind up the apples more carefully.  In this experiment, I got better and better at grinding up the apples every time.  This affected the colorimeter results; but not greatly.  Lastly, I would do more trials for each treatment.  In this experiment, I only did one trial for each of the four preservatives, but I tested the one applesauce treatment four times.  I should have used the system above, but repeated two or three times.

Researched by Kacey H


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