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Make your own applesauce … in a slow cooker

Everybody Craves | Meghan Rodgers
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The finished pruduct ready for dinner in the coming months.
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Load the cored, peeled and sliced apples into the slow cooker with brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon.
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After boiling jars in hot water, fill with hot applesauce.
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Peeling the apples is the first step to delicious applesauce.

October is National Apple Month, but we don’t need an official title to tell us that. Apples are everywhere — grocery stores, local shops, farmers markets. I’ve seen whole bushels for sale for just $6.

They’re probably piling up in your fridge drawer by this point, and you may be wondering what to do with all of them. Slow cooker applesauce is your answer.

A variety of apples works best when making applesauce. Granny Smiths are great, but mixing them with Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Cortland, Yellow Delicious or pretty much any apple that is firm and full of flavor will make the best sauce.

And what’s better still? You can make your applesauce and can it now, and be stocked for the rest of the year. You’ll eliminate loads of sugar from your diet along with whatever preservatives go into store-bought applesauce. The whole process only takes an afternoon and your house will smell incredible. It will become a day you look forward to every fall.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Makes about 2.5 quarts

Ingredients

¼ bushel of apples, variety (about 12 apples)

1 strip of lemon peel

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 cinnamon sticks + 3-4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

5 teaspoons light brown sugar

What else you will need:

3 gallon slow cooker

Large, tall pot

Canning jars with two-piece lids

Ladle

Canning funnel

Timer

Jar lifter/tongs

Spatula

Clean, moist towel

Cooling rack

Cooking directions

1. Wash, peel, core and roughly chop apples. Toss all apples into the slow cooker.

2. Add the cinnamon stick, brown sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice. Cook on high for three hours.

3. Stir the apples occasionally. You’ll see them start to break down into applesauce.

4. After three hours, remove cinnamon stick. Add ground cinnamon. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth, or if you prefer chunky applesauce, just stir with a spoon until desired consistency is reached. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a regular blender will work well, too.

5. Place in jars or airtight container. Without canning, applesauce should stay good refrigerated for up to three weeks.

Canning directions

1. Fill a 12-quart pot or larger half way with water and bring to boil.

2. Gently place clean glass canning jars in boiling water to warm them up.

3. Remove jars from water.

4. Using a funnel, fill jars with applesauce, leaving about ½ inch of space between the applesauce and the top of the jar.

5. Wipe off the rim of the jar with a damp towel to remove any sauce (food stuck to the rim could prevent the jar from properly sealing). Screw canning lid onto each jar.

6. Place back in boiling water bath for about 20 minutes. You should be able to hear the jar lids pop a bit — this means they have properly sealed. If you don’t hear the pop, the jars could be OK. Just make sure the lid doesn’t have any give to it.

7. Place on cooling rack. Store when cool.

Article by Meghan Rodgers,
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