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. Crockpot 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 other scary preservatives go into store-bought applesauces. The whole process only takes an afternoon and your house will smell incredible. It will become a day you look forward to every fall.
Makes about 2.5 quarts
- 1/4 bushel of apples, variety (about 12 apples)
- 1 strip of lemon peel
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks, 3-4 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 5 tsp light brown sugar, unpacked
- Wash, peel, core and roughly chop your apples. If you’re going to make this often, you may want to invest in an apple corer, otherwise, by hand is the name of the game. Toss all apples into crock pot.
- Add the cinnamon stick, brown sugar, lemon peel and lemon juice. Set crock pot on high and cook for 3 hours.
- Stir the apples occasionally. You’ll see them start to break down into applesauce.
- After 3 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.
- Place in jars or airtight container. Without canning, applesauce should stay good refrigerated for up to three weeks.
- Fill a 12 quart pot or larger half way with water and bring to boil.
- Gently place clean glass canning jars in boiling water to warm them up.
- Remove jars from water and remove lids from jars.
- Using a funnel, fill jars with applesauce, leaving about 1/2 inch of space between the applesauce and the top of the jar.
- 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). Fasten canning lid.
- 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 okay. Just make sure the lid doesn’t have any give to it.
- Place on cooling rack. Store when cool.
What you will need
- 3 gallon crock pot
- A large, tall pot
- Canning jars with two-piece lids
- A ladel
- A canning funnel
- A timer
- Jar lifter/tongs
- Clean, moist towel
- Cooling rack