Several years ago we took the kids apple picking and came home with way more apples than we could possibly eat before they reached their prime. I guess we were having too much fun apple picking and didn’t realize how many we were going to end up with! It was then that I started trying to find ways that I could easily freeze apples or turn them into some other form that the kids would love to snack on. One of the kids’ favorites is crockpot applesauce. When I made this last batch, they kept saying, “Something smells really good! What is it, Mommy?”
That’s the other great thing about making applesauce in the crockpot–it fills your house with the most aromatic and delicious smell. I often like to make a pot of it for parties we host as it gives the house a wonderful homemade-cooking smell.
I’m sharing this one today as I think it would be a great thing to make for Halloween. It’s a simple recipe that you can get started earlier on and then come back from trick-or-treat time and warm up with a delicious healthier snack.
Most applesauce recipes call for quite a bit of sugar but since apples are naturally sweet, I try not to use any until closer to the end of making it. Sometimes, I don’t even need to add any at all. Other times, it’s sweet enough where you can just add a few drops of honey to the containers when you eat them for a great taste. If you are used to more sugary foods, try using a little less sugar each time and you might find yourself getting used to the unsweetened versions.
What you’ll need:
10 apples – washed thoroughly
2/3 – 1 cup of water
Juice of 2 lemons – washed thoroughly, cut in half and seeds removed
1/2 TB of Vanilla
Brown Sugar or Honey (optional)
The first thing you’ll need to do is peel your apples. If you plan on making this often, you may want to invest in an Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer machine. I just peeled these with a paring knife and it took about 5 minutes. Save those skins as I’ll show you why in a bit.
Next, you’ll want to slice the apples. I used an apple slicer to make this go a little faster. These usually sell for less than $10 and they are very handy for slicing up apples for a quick snack!
After the apples are peeled and sliced, toss them into the crockpot. I like to add cinnamon to mine so I just give them a quick light sprinkle on top. You’ll also want to add the lemon juice, vanilla and water at this time. (save your lemons) If you have smaller apples, you may want to add a little less water, perhaps 2/3 cup, and see if you need to add any extra later. I used a full cup with mine and it turned out great. If you want to sweeten your apples, you can add around 2 1/2 TB of brown sugar. Or you can wait and see if it needs any later on. For this batch, I didn’t add any and it turned out fine for me and the kids. My husband added a few drops of honey to his, though, as he’s used to sweeter applesauce.
I usually cook mine on High and keep checking it from time to time. It should take about 3-4 hours. Cooking times really do vary by crockpot so you may want to keep a close watch on it the first time you make it. Once it cooks for a bit, you should be able to carefully mash it some with a Potato Masher. Once it is done cooking, you’ll have to decide if you want a chunkier or smooth applesauce. If you want a smooth version, you can use an Immersion Blender. These are great for things such as this or making homemade soup, etc. If you use one, though, you may want to transfer your applesauce to a larger bowl so you don’t take the chance of scratching your crockpot.
I kept mine a little chunkier and poured them into small containers. I highly recommend the Green Sprouts Freezer Cubes. They sell these in both plastic and glass versions. I have a few sets of each. These are great for making small, snack-size versions of homemade foods, such as applesauce. They come with their own tray that’s also stackable.
You can stack several of these little containers in the fridge without taking up much space so the kids (or you!) can easily grab one for a snack.
Now part of making foods at home is finding uses for some of the “scraps” that you have left over. Most of it, you can add to your compost pile, if you have one. But here are a few ways I try not to waste the scraps when I make this recipe:
Have some smoothies left over in your blender? Don’t throw it out! You can turn it into homemade popsicles if you invest in some Popsicle molds. This is a great way to treat the kids to a snack and not fill them up with all those unhealthy preservatives and dyes!
Making your own applesauce at home in a crockpot is very simple and is a great way to have a healthier version of what’s normally sold in the stores. I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy this as much as we do if you try it!
NOTE: The flavors can vary by the variety of apples you use. You can always use a mix of tart and sweet to change up your applesauce flavor, too.