My family loves applesauce, snacks, side dish, breakfast, you name it we eat applesauce all the time. Applesauce is a relatively inexpensive thing to purchase, but if we can make something from scratch and know exactly what ingredients go into it and keep any kind of chemicals, preservatives, etc… out of our food, then we do. I also like to experiment and add different fruits and spices to our applesauce (strawberries, blueberries, and vanilla are the most common) to give it a little change and added nutrition.
The following recipe is super easy and doesn’t contain any additional sugar! BONUS! You can make small or large batches depending on the amount of apples you have and you can easily water bath can your extras for years of storage in your pantry. Best part about this recipe it is SOOOOOOO EASY! No peeling apples (did you know the peels are what contain most of the nutrition), no dicing, and very little waste (really no waste if you plant the seeds and use the cores to make apple cider vinegar, but more about that later). I usually have a batch of this going in about 10 minutes (and that is with distractions and working slow!) Give this a try and I am sure the whole family will love it.
– knife or apple corer/slicer
– immersion blender
– some way to store afterwards (canning jars or bowls are best)
– Apples (avoid tart apples and choose the sweeter varieties like Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Jazz, and Pink Lady. You can use all one kind or a combination, I prefer to use a combination)
– Lemon juice (fresh is best, but whatever you have on hand works totally fine)
– Apple Cider or Apple Juice (I use the apple cider from Trader Joe’s it taste AMAZING and adds great spices and flavors to the applesauce. Warning though they only sell from Oct.- Nov. I tend to buy 10 plus of these and horde them all year)
– Additional fruit and spices such as blueberries, vanilla, strawberries, etc… (OPTIONAL: add these only if you want something other than traditional applesauce.
1) Wash apples then core and slice them. I use a super handy apple slicer and corer (you can pick these up just about anywhere for $5-$10, well worth it!) If your apples have any really bruised or bad spots you will want to cut those out.
2) Place apple slices in your crockpot. There isn’t an exact measurement as this recipe works for 2 apples or 20 I usually just cut apples till I fill up my crockpot. It takes roughly 5-6 apples to make a full crockpot for me.
3) Add your lemon juice. Again amount varies but I usually do 2-3 TBSPS or if using fresh all the juice from 1 lemon.
4) Add your apple cider. You can always add more in for a runnier consistency later so maybe start with ¼-½ cup. As the apples cook this will enhance their flavors and add some great spice flavor. If you want to use regular apple juice absolutely fine as well!
5) If you are adding additional fruit or spices do that now. Again no exact measurement I usually just throw in the remainder of what I have in the fridge. If using out of season fruits you can use frozen no problem. For someplace to start with measurements: a small carton of blueberries, 1 vanilla bean (be sure to split this and scrape out the seeds into the crockpot then add in the pod as well, you will take it out before blending), half a carton of strawberries, 1-2 TBSPS cinnamon, etc…)
6) place top on and cook on low for 5-6 hours (I have cooked mine longer on days I was busy and it was just fine) or on high for roughly 3 hours. You want your apples to be soft essentially.
7) once your apples are finished cooking take an immersion blender and blend the contents of your crockpot (no need to dirty another dish just do this right in your crockpot, BUT be careful as sometimes the contents splatter and they will be hot.)
8) blend until you have the consistency you want (some like chunkier sauce I like mine somewhat thinner). If you want to add more cider to make it thinner you can. The peels will blend right in and you won’t even know they are there.
9) At this point your applesauce is done and ready to eat. You can store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, freezer for up to 1 year, or water bath can and store for years.
– Many grocery stores will bag and sell the slightly older or somewhat bruised apples for a big discount (usually 4-5 apples for $0.99 at my store!!!!) These work awesome for applesauce and make your costs for about 4 pints roughly $0.50/jar.
– These make awesome gifts. I made up some super quick and easy labels with Avery templates and give these away as presents (great teachers gifts, neighbors, friends, etc…).
– These are naturally sweet tasting and so good. You can use them as a spread on toast, muffins, or bagels as a healthy alternative to sugary jams.
– Some combinations to get you started: blueberry/vanilla, strawberry vanilla, cranberry clove, peach ginger, triple berry, cinnamon. Possibilities only limited to your imagination.
– Nutritional Information (roughly): 1/2 cup serving: 63 calories, 0g fat, 2 mg sodium, 16.6g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 12.6g sugars, 0g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 1