My mom brought me a big bag of local organic apples yesterday. They were beautiful pink fleshed apples – called “pink pearls”, I believe- stunning as well as delicious.
I peeled a few to make an apple dessert…
…and the rest I chopped up to make a crockpot applesauce sweetened with maple syrup.
I have had the same crockpot for more than 15 years. I love the “hands off-ness” that goes with making crockpot recipes, but if you don’t have one, don’t fret. You can still make the applesauce in a large pot on the stove. Cook anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the consistency you like (cooking longer yields something more like an apple butter). Check on the apples and stir periodically, adding additional water if needed, to make sure they don’t burn.
If you are going to be making applesauce a lot, it is also great to have a tool called a Food Mill.
A food mill allows you to easily make lovely smooth applesauce (it is also handy for removing seeds and skins in tomato recipes, making silky mashed potatoes, and more) I use a Foley Food Mill that I inherited when my grandmother died- I’m not sure how old it is, but it still works great.
If you don’t have a food mill, you’ll need to peel your apples, and then use a potato masher to mash them down. It might not end up as smooth, but it will still be delicious.
This slow cooker applesauce is great over any type of pancakes (traditional, gluten-free, potato, sweet potato, etc.), over Greek yogurt, or on its own.
If you’d like to make apple butter, cook it down further until it has reached the consistency you’re looking for. You can do this by returning it to the crockpot for a few more hours, or you can do it on a pot over the stove. You may or may not need to add more sweetener- as the apples cook down, their flavor will concentrate even more, so taste as you go.
Be aware that your results will vary depending on the apples you use. Some apples are tart and will need more sweetener, while some are so sweet on their own that they’ll need no additional sweetener. Have fun playing with the recipe and let me know about your favorite applesauce recipes!
Crockpot Applesauce Recipe
Makes 1 quart
*8-10 large apples, cored and sliced into quarters (if you don't have a food mill, you'll want to peel them first)
*1 cup water
*juice of 1/2 large lemon
*1 vanilla bean- I think this enhances the recipe, but it's totally optional
*1 Tb. ground cinnamon
*1/2-1 cup maple syrup (I like to use the lesser amount, but you might prefer it sweeter; you could also use honey or an organic sugar or brown sugar)
1. Place apples, water, and lemon juice into crockpot and turn on low. Add vanilla bean and cook 8-10 hours or overnight. Allow to cool and remove vanilla bean, reserving for another use.
2. Pour cooked apples into food mill and place over a bowl. Allow excess liquid to drain out- you can drink it or reserve it for another use.
3. Pass the apples through the food mill into a large bowl, and then add the cinnamon and maple syrup. Mix well.
4. Taste your applesauce. If you like it as is, go ahead and spoon it into your jar(s)- I got approximately 2 pint jars out of this recipe (one that I'll eat this week and one that I'll freeze for later).
5. If you want it to be spicier, you could add some ground cloves, cardamom, ginger...anything you like. If you'd like it sweeter, add a little more maple syrup.