Think homemade applesauce is only the work of skilled canners and chefs? Think again. If you can cut up apples and put them in the slow cooker, you can master the art of making it. Apples are a very special fruit because they contain pectin, which is a natural thickener. In the following recipe courtesy of the U.S. Apple Association, let the slow cooker gently simmer the apples until they are tender and falling apart, and then mash or puree to the desired consistency.
For added fun, create an applesauce toppings bar and customize with your favorite toppings. The possibilities are endless. Serve applesauce alongside little bowls of toppings such as chia, flax seeds, hemp seeds, toasted walnuts, sesame seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, fresh berries, cinnamon, pie spice, honey, or maple syrup.
Try ½ cup serving of applesauce with a sprinkling of these combinations:
chia + cinnamon
blueberries + honey
flax seeds + maple syrup
With the apple harvest in full swing, this is the perfect time of year to try this recipe. Plus, if you are interested in more ways to use apples, check out the savory and sweet recipes I highlighted here. You will also find updated harvest estimates by variety from the Minnesota Apple Growers Association. Looking for a local orchard to visit? Check out our list here.
Slow Cooker Vanilla Applesauce
Makes 3¾ cups
3 pounds apples (about 8 medium apples), peeled and cut in chunks
½ cup sugar, optional
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
- Place the peeled apple chunks in the slow cooker and sprinkle with sugar, lemon, vanilla, and salt, then stir to mix. Cover the cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.
- Uncover the cooker and use a potato masher to coarsely mash the apples, or if you want a really smooth sauce, you can puree in a food processor or blender. (Be careful when handling the hot apples and juice; cover the lid of the processor or blender with a folded towel and hold it closed as you turn on the machine.)
- Transfer the applesauce to sterilized jars and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.