Apple season has been over for a while; luckily apples are still plentiful at my local market. When they’re on sale, I always opt for a large bag when I decide to make a few apple recipes. Finding recipes to use them in is always fun. This slow cooker applesauce recipe is one of many fun recipes I like to make when I come across a great sale on a good tart cooking apple.
Homemade applesauce is one of the easiest things to make. When you add a slow cooker to the mix, it makes it that much easier. I will say that the apple sweetness speaks for themselves in this recipe. Because of that, no sugar is added. I also happen to prefer my applesauce a bit tart.
So here we go.
- 4 lbs. tart cooking apples (Granny Smith, Braeburn, Pink Lady, etc. See the provided chart)
- ⅓ cup water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
Wash the apples to remove any residue and wax. Peel, core and slice them into quarters. Place the sliced apples, water, salt, and lemon juice in your slow cooker; toss to coat and cover and set on low for 4 hours, until the apples are very soft.
Using a potato masher or large fork, mash the apples until you’ve reached the desired texture, chunky or smooth. I like mine a bit chunky. Take care when mashing the softened cooked apples; the mixture is pretty hot.
Using a canning funnel, pour the applesauce into 6 half pint or 3 1-pint sterilized jars, leaving ¼ -inch headspace from the rim of the jar. Wipe rims of each jar; seal and let cool for an hour or so. You can go the extra step and can the jars of applesauce for a longer shelf life. Otherwise, the applesauce will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the applesauce in freezer containers for up to a year or so.
Variations: There are many variations; below are just a few. In some cases, you will need to test for sweetness and add a bit of sugar.
- Cinnamon Applesauce: Add 1 to two teaspoons of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to taste.
- Apple Apricot Sauce: Add 1-cup apricot jam.
- Apple Strawberry Sauce: Add 1 cup strawberries and a dash of allspice.
- Apple Pear Sauce: 2 lbs. each of apples and pears.
- Apple Blueberry Sauce: Add 1-cup of fresh or frozen blueberries and a pinch of ground ginger. Test for sweetness and add sugar when needed.
- Apple Cranberry: 1-cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries. Replace the water with 1/2 cup cranberry juice. Test for sweetness and add sugar when needed.
Notes: Some like their applesauce with a bit of sugar. If that would be you, add a bit of sugar at the end when the mixture is mashed and still hot. Be careful to add a little at a time, stirring in the sugar until it’s dissolved. Taste as you go and stop adding sugar when you’ve reached the desired sweetness. A combination of apples is also a fun way to go. You can leave the skins on the apples if you prefer. If you do, you’ll need to cut the apples into a medium dice and vigorously mash them when they’ve softened to break down the skins. The skins do add a bit of color, flavor, and texture to your sauce; either way, it all tastes divine.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, have no fear; you can easily make this on the stovetop. The difference is in the time it takes to cook the apples to the softened stage – about 20 to 30 minutes. It’s actually much faster than the slow cooker. I just like the “set it and forget it” method. It’s up to you which method you prefer. As I said before, this homemade slow cooker applesauce can easily be canned to allow for a very long shelf life. I do this quite often when I have a lot of apples on hand.
Ok, isn’t that easy? Why not give this homemade slow cooker applesauce a try. Regardless of whether you use a slow cooker or the stovetop, you will love the end results. In fact, I would venture to say you might never want to buy applesauce at your local market ever again. Enjoy.
Time to eat…
P.S. Take a moment to check out and purchase some of the tools I used for this “Slow Cooker Applesauce -Unsweetened” below. 🙂