“You got to remember, when Riley was 3, animals were all the rage. The cow goes ‘moo.’ The horse goes ‘neigh.’ That’s all people talked about back then.”
That’s definitely my (Heidi’s) favorite quote from Inside Out.
Animals are definitely big at our house. Duck says “quack.” Cow says “oooooooo.” Even bigger though: fruit.
What kind of toddler is into fruit?
Our toddler apparently. Specifically apples.
For the last few months, we’ve been really into summer fruits. We zipped through watermelon after watermelon, and we dabbled in blueberries, strawberries, peaches… Isn’t summer a great time?
And then, this week…
Chilly. At least, in the morning. We’re still sweating at the playground in the middle of the day.
Fall is coming. And the trees must know it too. When I stepped outside this afternoon, I discovered yellow and brown leaves strewn across our lawn: the advance party before the leaves change color in earnest.
We’re going to have a busy fall. Wandering through apple orchards (we already made our first trip!). Choosing pumpkins at the pumpkin patch. Blowing leaves (if it keeps our little one entertained, who am I to stop him?).
And making applesauce. Aren’t apples just the best part of fall?
Oh, and burning applesauce… What a disappointment! After making homemade applesauce over and over again, I succeed in burning it for the first time when it was destined for the blog. Apparently, even when I’m trying to wear my “supermom cape,” I still can’t put our toddler down for a nap, snap photos, monitor naptime and the applesauce on the stove, draft a post, and remember to turn down the heat on the stove all in the same half hour. (The good news, though, is that it was still totally tasty, despite the burnt layer on the bottom of the pan.)
And perhaps, you’ve been feeling the same way about making homemade applesauce. I’ve had fantastic applesauce made on the stove or in the oven, so feel free to cook it or bake it your own way. But even I can’t mess up slow cooker applesauce. It’s easy as pie—actually, much easier. 🙂
For our slow cooker applesauce, I decided to use 12 apples. We actually used seconds from a local orchard, and they were tasty, cheap, and not at all pretty. The beautiful apples went into the scorched sauce. Ha!
Feel free to adjust the volume depending on how many apples you need to use up—because applesauce is a great way to use up apples past their prime—and how much applesauce you want on hand. From personal experience, I can say that it freezes beautifully, for at least two months.
Start by peeling and coring the apples. It doesn’t really matter how big or small the apple pieces are when you add them to the slow cooker.
Next add juice: apple juice, apple cider, anything that sounds good with apple. We’ve used several different types of juice, including the mango blend pictured below. This time, we used up some apple juice pouches. Apple juice pouches are great for on-the-go—unless someone has pulled the straws off every. single. pouch. 😉
I typically add about 1/2 cup of juice per 6 apples. In the slow cooker, you don’t lose very much moisture to evaporation, so my applesauce turned out thinner than normal, similar to store-bought applesauce instead of the thick applesauce I usually make. You might start with less juice (perhaps 1/4 cup per 6 apples) then thin the applesauce after mashing if desired. Totally personal preference.
Then add a dash of lemon juice (up to 1 Tablespoon per 6 apples). It gives a nice bright flavor and helps keep the sauce from browning.
This recipe is so simple for gluten-free—just read the labels on the juice if you have any concerns. I’m yet to meet a bottle of 100% juice that I can’t drink.
Once the apples, juice, and lemon juice (optional) have been added, turn the slow cooker to low for about 5-6 hours (or to high for about 3-4 hours). The apples are ready to mash when they are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Mash using a potato masher to desired consistency (or carefully blend using an immersion blender, allowing time for the apples to cool some first).
We love homemade applesauce on pancakes or waffles. It’s also delicious by the bowlful, especially topped with cinnamon. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Homemade Applesauce
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: approx. 8 cups||Total:|
Easy, delicious, homemade applesauce heaven.
- 12 apples
- 1/2 cup fruit juice of choice (add more if desired)
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Peel, core, and slice apples. Put in slow cooker.
- Add fruit juice and lemon juice. Cook on low 5-6 hours, or on high 3-4 hours.
- When apples are soft (you should be able to pierce them easily with a fork), mash with a potato masher or blend.
- Let cool and enjoy!
Try adding cinnamon, nutmeg, or berries. We like cinnamon!
See this recipe (and other gluten-free recipes) on Allergy Free Thursday.