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Crockpot Applesauce | Healthy Green Kitchen

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…

pinkpearls

…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.

applesauceinfoodmill

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.

finishedapplesauce

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

Ingredients:

*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)

Directions:

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.

applesauce

Related links I think you’ll enjoy:
Pink Pearl Apple Cups with Fromage Blanc
Applesauce from Simply Recipes

loafofbread

Making homemade bread is something I have been doing sporadically for many years. I’ve made all different types and I’ve found that even though they require patience, variations on sourdough consistently yield the best results. This makes me happy because I really enjoy the process of making sourdoughs. I also love the flavor complexity of sourdough, and I feel these breads are generally healthier than yeast-based breads (because the fermentation process makes the grains more digestible).

This rosemary bread with olives and walnuts is adapted from the recipe for Acme’s Herb Slabs in Artisan Bread Across America by Maggie Glezer. I changed the recipe by adding the olives and walnuts, and I baked it into two true loaves. It came out fabulous.

Rosemary is a perennial herb that is generally easy to grow in a sunny spot in the garden. Medicinally, it is said to be good for the nervous system and for the circulation. It is also useful cosmetically; a strong tea can be used as a skin and hair rinse. Rosemary is high in volatile oils and has a wonderful aroma and flavor when it is used in recipes.

Rosemary Bread with Walnuts and Olives
adapted from the recipe for Acme’s Herb Slabs in Artisan Bread Across America by Maggie Glezer
Makes 2 loaves

This bread starts with a “poolish”. A poolish is a type of starter that contains just a bit of yeast. In this case, it is a very tiny amount. Start your poolish in the evening so it can ferment while you are sleeping, then plan to make the bread the next day. Make sure to read the recipe through so you have an idea of when you’ll need to be available to work on the bread. It’s not a ton of hands on time that is needed, but it’s probably best make this day when you are generally home (weekend day, perhaps).

Make the Poolish:
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup water (110 )
2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water

Whisk the yeast and the 1 cup water together. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Take 1/4 cup of this yeasted water and add it to the flour. Add the lukewarm water and mix. You will end up with a “very gloppy batter”.

makingpoolish1

makingpoolish2

Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it ferment for 12 hours overnight, or until its bubbles are popping and the top is starting to foam.

poolish

Make the Bread:
3 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tb. salt
1 Tb. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 Tb. olive oil
Fermented poolish
1 cup mixed olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes, then cooled and chopped

Using a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, rosemary and yeast in the mixing bowl. Add the water and oil to the poolish, stir to loosen it, and pour it into the flour mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until a rough dough forms. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After the dough has rested, add the olives and continue to mix until it is very smooth (about 5 minutes).

breaddoughbeforerise

Take the dough out of the mixing bowl onto a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands, and sprinkle it with the walnuts. Knead the bread by hand until all of the walnuts are incorporated.

breaddoughbeforewalnuts

Wash and dry your mixing bowl. Rub it with olive oil, place your bread dough in, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let it ferment until light and doubled in bulk, about 6 hours.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two equal portions. Knead each ball a bit more, and then “round the loaves” (translation: cup your hands around the dough and rotate it in circles until a smooth ball forms”). Place your dough balls onto an oiled cookie sheet (or one that is lined with parchment paper and has been sprinkled with cornmeal).

Allow to rise for about 1 hour; preheat the oven to 400°F. about 30 minutes into this rising.

Slash the loaves 3-4 times with a serrated knife before you put them in the oven, and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes, or until well-browned and hollow sounding when you knock on the bottom. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack before slicing.

Alternatively, if you have a baking stone and don’t mind baking your loaves separately, place the stone in the oven before you heat it and clear all racks above the one you are using. When the oven is hot, sprinkle the baking stone with cornmeal, slash the top of your loaf, and place on top of your baking stone. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Repeat with the other loaf.

sliceofbread

Related recipes I think you might enjoy:
Homemade Oatmeal Bread from Healthy Green Lifestyle
Poolish Foccacia from VeganYumYum
Intro to Bread Baking from Baking 911

WHB3-1This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, an event managed by Haalo from Cook Almost Anything. This week’s host is Chris from Mele Cotte!

When you’ve got lots and lots of tomatoes in the garden and you’re looking for new ways to cook ’em, here comes a slow roasted tomato recipe to the rescue.

tomatobowl

Making tomato sauce is certainly a great way to use up extra tomatoes. But I’ve recently become a fan of baking batches of these slow roasted tomatoes with garlic to freeze and enjoy in the months to come instead. Slow roasted tomatoes are extremely easy to make; they are also really delicious.

tomatoesinjar

The wonderful thing about this technique is that it intensely concentrates the tomatoes’ flavor. You can feel free to use homegrown tomatoes or the best store-bought heirlooms tomatoes you can find, but don’t feel you have to- the end result will be great even without the best tomatoes.

To make them, first you preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes and garlic in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic and then sprinkle with the herbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

tomatoesinpan

Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully lift the skins off the tomatoes and discard (you don’t have to take the skins off the smaller tomatoes). Carefully pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a bowl.

Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and return the tomatoes to the oven. Once every hour, remove the roasting tomatoes and pour off the liquid that will continue to accumulate in the bottom of the pan (this makes a lovely broth on its own, or reserve it to use as part of the liquid in a soup, dressing, etc.)

Bake for 3-4 hours, until the tomatoes are well cooked but not too shriveled.

Recipe for Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients:

*10 large ripe tomatoes, stemmed, cored, and cut in half (I actually used a variety of tomatoes- some red and yellow ones of various sizes, plus some San Marzanos and about 4 cups of cherry tomatoes, all from my garden)
*peeled garlic cloves from 1 large head
*1/4 cup olive oil
*2 Tb. fresh basil, chopped
*1 Tb. fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stem
*1 Tb. fresh parsley, chopped
*Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes and garlic in a large roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic and then sprinkle with the herbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

2. Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully lift the skins off the tomatoes and discard (you don't have to take the skins off the smaller tomatoes). Carefully pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a bowl.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and return the tomatoes to the oven. Once every hour, remove the roasting tomatoes and pour off the liquid that will continue to accumulate in the bottom of the pan (this makes a lovely broth on its own, or reserve it to use as part of the liquid in a soup, dressing, etc.)

4. Bake for 3-4 hours, until the tomatoes are well cooked but not too shriveled.

5. Slow roasted tomatoes will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator. They are wonderful on pasta or rice or as a side dish with fish or meat. If you want to save them to enjoy when tomato season is over, you can freeze them for up to 6 months.

Adapted from Think Like a Chef.
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tomatoesdone

Slow roasted tomatoes will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator. They are wonderful on pasta or rice or as a side dish with fish or meat. If you want to save them to enjoy when tomato season is over, you can freeze them for up to 6 months.