A strange upside to the storms of last year was that our neighbor lost a tree that had been shading our apple trees. The result this year was a bumper crop of apples. It is SO hard to let anything you grow yourself go to waste! Faced with 20 lbs. of apples in a morning picking, some decisions had to be made. Applesauce won the vote:)
Apples are full of nutrition, but the best part is lost if you don’t use the peels. Apple peels have vitamins A and C as well as calcium, phosphorus, folate and iron. Two thirds of the apple’s fiber is found in the peel. Research you can hear more about here, shows that there are substances in the peel that fight breast and prostate cancer. Bottom line- leave the peels on and with the blended method below, you will get all the taste and benefits from the fruit.
I recall, not that fondly, humid hours spent peeling, coring, cutting and stirring apples over a large pot last time I made applesauce. It was an all day affair and we hadn’t even gotten to canning. Luckily, now there is the mass wisdom of the internet and I, like many others, have discovered the joy of crock-pot applesauce. No peeling or stirring and you can leave the house while it cooks. This method is easy, efficient and doesn’t heat up the kitchen as badly. If you have a glut of apple goodness this fall, you have to try this!
Apple pieces enough to fill and mound up in the center of your pot
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups water
½ cup lemon juice
optionals: ½ cup sugar or ¼ cup agave or ¼ cup honey, lemon or orange zest (1-2 tablespoons according to taste). If the apples you use are sweet, you probably won’t need sugar.
Wash, core and cut apples into approximately 1-2 inch chunks. Pack them into your crock pot until they mound up nicely in the center.
The pot lid rested on the top of the apples should leave a gap between the lid and the crock.
This is important to let some of the steam out during cooking so the resultant sauce is not too liquid.
Pour the other ingredients over the apples and rest the lid on top of the mounded fruit. Set the cooker to low for about 5 hours or high for 2-3. Cooking time will vary by cooker brand and density of apple. This is not an exact science and overcooking is not really a problem here. When the time is finished, mash the cooked fruit with a potato masher.
You could leave the resultant sauce chunky if that’s your favorite and it will have visible bits of peel like this:
If you want a classic smooth end result, puree with an immersion blender right in the crock until the desired smoothness is achieved. No immersion blender? Put one on your wish list 🙂 You can use a blender too. Ladle the sauce into the blender and puree in batches until the whole pot is done to the consistency you like.
At this stage you can eat it immediately, store in the fridge for a few days or can the excess. If canning, ladle the sauce into sterilized canning jars to within 1 cm of the jar rim, top with new sterilized lids, hand tighten the jar bands and process for 15 mins in a boiling water bath according to the jar makers directions. Label jars before storage because we all forget exactly what’s in there and when we made it 🙂
After trying this several times this year, I will never make applesauce any other way. I have fallen in love with my crock-pot all over again.