There’s something so lovely about a fresh Gravenstein apple. The gorgeous red they turn, the sweet/sour taste; they’re such a treat. I love being able to put up apples for winter, when fresh fruit seems so far away. One of my favorite ways to do that is with slow cooker applesauce. It’s so easy to make, it’s really silly that I don’t do it more often. I just love that I can leave it alone all day and come home to a house that smells like homemade applesauce.
My Gravenstein apples came from my moms tree in her back yard. In fact, this whole batch of applesauce was made entirely with windfall apples. We haven’t even begun to pick the tree yet, so watch for more apple recipes over the next few weeks!
If you don’t have access to an apple tree, you can still pick your own! Lots of orchards have u-pick apples in a ton of great varieties. Check out my post on fruit picking for ideas and resources to find u-pick farms in your area.
Of course if you prefer you can get great apples at the farmers market or grocery store. Choose nice firm fruit that isn’t over-ripe. Don’t worry too much about blemishes since you’ll be peeling and cutting these apples. Mine had a fair amount of bruises that had to be cut out but I ended up with plenty of great fruit.
Once you have your fruit, your next step will be to peel, core, an slice your apples. Even though I’m making applesauce I still like to slice them since they’ll cook faster this way an need less mashing.
I’m a lazy cook, and taking an extra step to slice the fruit now will mean less work in the long run.
I especially like to avoid needed to use the blender or food processor That’s just a whole lot of extra dishes that I don’t want to deal with.
You can just toss your slices right into the crock pot as you go. I don’t usually work with a set amount of apples. I just keep peeling and slicing until I run out or my crock pot is full. A full batch for me usually makes about 3 pints of applesauce. You can also make a small batch in a sauce pot for dinner. Just cook down a few apples with a bit of water and spices. Plop ’em on some pork chops and you’re good to go!
Once you have as many apples as you want in your crock pot, add a bit of water. For a full crock pot I usually put in about a half cup. A quarter cup would be plenty for a smaller batch. If you’re going to add sugar and spice (and everything nice), you can do it now or wait a bit. I usually don’t bother until the apples are getting fairly cooked down so I can add a little and taste it as I go.
Cook your apples for 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low until they’re nice and mushy. If the apples are still more chunky than you want you can mash them with a potato masher, or use a blender or food processor to get them to the consistency you like. Let your applesauce cool and you’re done!
This slow cooker applesauce can be kept in the fridge, freezer, or canned.
If you need canning instructions I recommend checking out the Ball Canning website at www.freshpreserving.com. They have a great Canning 101 tutorial and more detailed instructions as well. I’m a little funny about canning safely, which is why I’m not giving a detailed canning tutorial.
This slow cooker applesauce is excellent on pork chops, over pancakes (or baked into to them!), or just as a snack. My favorite is to toss in some raisins and warm it up in the microwave until the raisins get nice and plump. It tastes just like a baked apple!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy fresh applesauce? Please share with us in the comments below!