Homemade Applesauce on the Stove and in the Slow Cooker

Late summer, when the first inklings of fall are starting to show, is my favorite time of year. It’s not chilly just yet, but it’s cooling down enough to feel something different in the air. Most importantly, apples are in season; my all-time favorite fruit.

We get some really fantastic apples at the farmers markets where I live in Utah. Cameo, Gala, Jazz, Fuji, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp. My oldest son knows that this time of year means we have apples for dessert after lunch or dinner.

This year I wanted to try my hand at making some applesauce. A quick search on Pinterest revealed that it’s actually very simple to make, so I tried it two ways: some in the slow cooker and some on the stove.

My son and I bought a box of organic Gala apples from our farmer’s market and got to work.

Ingredients:

  • 12-15 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice from of one lemon
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Give your apples a quick rinse to clean off any dirt.

The hardest and most time-consuming part of this is peeling, coring and chopping the apples. I have this nifty peeler/corer/slicer contraption that clamps to my countertop. If it worked properly, it would be the best tool for prepping a lot of apples quickly, and it’s darned fun to use! But the peeling part on mine peels way more apple than just skin. So I ended up peeling the apples with my handheld peeler and then coring and slicing with the counter-mounted thingy.

After about 30 apples, I was having trouble getting the apple centered, so I opted to just use the corer/cutter that you press down.

If you’re using your slow cooker, put the water and lemon juice into the cooker. Add your apples and toss them with your hands to get some lemon juice and water on many of them.

Add a cinnamon stick or two to the apples and cook on low for four to six hours or until the apples are soft.

If you’re doing this on the stove, put the apples, water and lemon juice into a soup pot or dutch oven, toss and add the cinnamon stick. Heat up the pot on medium for about 5-10 minutes and then turn the heat to low. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours, or until the apples are soft. I went in with a wooden spoon and stirred them around every 30 minutes or so. I don’t know if it was necessary, but it made me feel like I was participating.

When the apples are soft, then remove the cinnamon stick and discard.

Taste the apples. If you think they need a little sugar, then add a bit. If you want to add cinnamon, then do so now. I like cinnamon in my applesauce, so I add about a teaspoon.

If you like chunky applesauce, then mash with a potato masher. If you want smooth applesauce, then use a stick blender until the applesauce reaches the consistency you want.

This applesauce can easily be canned so you can store it in your pantry. I’m kind of a rule-breaker when it comes to canning. I don’t do the water bath method for many of the jams and sauces I make.

Here’s what I do:

Tools:

  • Jars, brand new lids and rings (you can reuse old jars and rings, but always use brand new lids when canning to ensure they will seal)
  • Canning funnel
  • Magnetic lid grabber
  • Jar grabber
  • Ladle

If you don’t own any of these tools, they aren’t required, but they’re helpful. Mine were part of a “canning set” (minus the ladle) that I bought for about $5 at my grocery store. 

Put the lids and jars, upside down, in a pot with a few inches of filtered water in it. Bring that water to a boil to sanitize and heat up the jars and lids.

When your applesauce is done and still hot, pull out one jar at a time, ladle applesauce into the jar leaving about half an inch of space at the top. With a clean kitchen towel, wipe the top rim of the jar to make sure it’s clean. Then grab a lid and place it on top. Cover with a ring and tighten… but not super tight. I hold and tighten it with a kitchen towel or oven mitts because that sucker is hot!

Still holding it with a towel or oven mitts, I flip the whole jar upside down for about 5 seconds and then upright again. I set it on my cutting board to cool. Within ten to twenty minutes, I hear the satisfying “pop!” as the jar seals.

I spent $17 on the box of apples and $3 on lemons. They yielded me about six quarts of applesauce that I will be able to keep in my pantry through the summer and we can give a few as gifts to friends and neighbors. Because sugar can act as a preservative, the one batch I added sugar to will be able to keep in my pantry for up to a year. The jars that don’t have any added sugar will keep for a few months. 

My kindergartner isn’t a huge fan of applesauce, but my husband and I both like it and my new baby will be able to enjoy it when he starts eating solids in a few months.

Enjoy!

One Response to Homemade Applesauce on the Stove and in the Slow Cooker

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