One of the first pantry staples I stopped buying from the store was applesauce. It may seem a little silly but once you begin making your own, the store purchased sauce just seems gross tasting. It is also a huge waste of grocery money, and this is especially true if you buy organic sauce, which you should… assuming you are buying it.
But you’re not going to anymore. Right? Applesauce is not only a tabletop necessity for my family, but I also use it a lot in baking recipes. You can use applesauce as a substitute for sweetener or oil, or in some cases both. You can add cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange zest, or other fruits to make spicy, sweet, variations of applesauce. Since I use this type of sauce a lot for baking purposes (and baby food) I keep it stupid simple and I only use apples.
No-Peel, Slow Cooker Applesauce
For quite a few years I had my usual applesauce making routine, it involved a lot of frustration and fidgeting with peelers, corers and all sorts of apple dismembering contraptions that ultimately peeved me off. Last year I realized I could skip the bulk of that nonsense and just throw cored apples into the slow cooker and puree the mixture once it became tender. This saved me a lot of time and made applesauce making literally a thoughtless, simple task. When you are canning 100 pounds worth of sauce per year, the time peeling apples and stirring the pot really adds up. Peel -on sauce is not only easier to prepare, but you are utilizing more of the apple and getting the fiber and pectin from the apples peel. Although regular strained or peeled applesauce is a great healthy snack, it can be a punch of sugar and carbohydrates. Since the peel has most of the health benefits, removing it eliminates a lot of the goodness. This peel on smooth sauce is not only fantastic for baking but it is spectacular for making homemade apple butter!
I like to fill TWO slow cookers to the rim with apples and mix the batches together before blending. This way I can process around 25-30 pounds of apples at once.
Note: If your apples are purchased from the store you will need to remove the wax before cooking. Do this by placing the apples in a tub with hot water and some vinegar. Clean the apples thoroughly and proceed!
- Organic Apples
- Fill your largest slow cooker with cored apples.
- Add a cup or two of hot water to the bottom of the pot.
- Set the pot to high.
- Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Puree the sauce thoroughly using an immersion blender or blend in batches in your regular household blender carafe. (be careful if it is HOT!!!)
- Pour hot sauce into sterile jars and process as usual (or continue to thicken the sauce to prepare apple butter.)
-I can not recommend skipping the hot water bath canning method because it is not recommended by the FDA – – – but I do. I have had really good luck with 1 or 2 cup jars sealing just fine just by inverting my hot full jars on the counter. This works because when I fill my jars my sauce is usually bubbling hot when I process it. I ladle my HOT applesauce into clean jars, put the rings and lids on as usual, but instead of putting my jars in a hot water bath, I flip the jars upside down and allow them to rest on the counter overnight. After the jars have rested 8-10 hours, I just check them by pressing the center of each lid to confirm they have sealed. If they have not, then I boil them.
Be sure to save your cores for homemade raw apple cider vinegar. Have I mentioned that purchasing organic, local apples is well worth the investment? Absolutely NOTHING gets wasted! Just toss your cores into a jar with 2-3 cups of raw apple cider vinegar and water or raw cider. Cover the jars loosely and allow it to chill out in a warm-ish room for a month or so. Strain away the apples and store the vinegar until you need it. After a few batches you will have a healthy mother culture that will form at the top of the jar. To make new batches just put pieces of the mother into a jar with apple scraps and water or even plain ol’ additive free cider if you are not in the midst of apple prepping season then ferment for 4-6 weeks as usual.