Snacks & Treats
Easiest Homemade Slow-Cooker Applesauce
BY JEN KOSSOWAN, MAMA.PAPA.BUBBA
Sep 21, 2016
I’ve made a lot of applesauce in my time. It’s a favourite September activity in our house and something I loved doing with my classes when teaching Kindergarten and Grade One. And while homemade applesauce is one of those things that pretty much turns out no matter what, I will say that I think there are a couple of little things you can do to make it taste amazing every time!
Want to know my secrets? Alright, secret number one: it’s all about the apples. Not so much about the exact varieties, it's more so about having variety. When I make applesauce, I like to use at least two types of apples, and sometimes three! The key is pairing a tart variety (like Granny Smith) with a sweet variety (like Gala or Honeycrisp) so that you have some depth of flavour. Secret number two? Using a really good pressed apple juice or apple cider instead of water. In my opinion, this intensifies the flavour of the sauce and makes it that much more delicious! Lastly, and this is not something I always do, but I really love to add a little vanilla and lemon peel to the pot when cooking my apples. The combination of flavours, the tangy lemon with the warm sweet vanilla, is perfection when added to stewing apples.
Alright, now onto our recipe! Here’s what you’ll need to make delicious apple sauce in your slow-cooker:
- 6 apples (preferably a couple of different varieties)
- 1/2 cup of pressed apple juice or apple cider
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla (optional, but delicious)
- 3 strips of lemon peel (you can use your veggie peeler for this job)
- a slow-cooker
- a food processor or blender (or potato masher if you don’t mind a sauce with lots of texture)
You'll also love: Slow-Cooker Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
To start off, you’ll definitely want to recruit some little helpers! Invite them to wash the apples thoroughly, and after you’ve cored and seeded them, have them to chop the apples into chunks. A butter knife is more than adequate for this job and cutting is great for developing hand muscle strength, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Plus I find that kids LOVE cutting things as it’s often something reserved for adults to do.
Now on a side note, while some people peel their apples when making applesauce, we never do. Keeping the peels on means more fibre, more nutrients, less waste and less work. Plus I find that they blend up and are virtually undetectable in the finished sauce.
With your apples cut, invite your little one to toss them into a crockpot along with the apple juice or apple cider and the vanilla, placing the lemon peelings on top (you’ll be taking these out later). Allow the mixture to cook on low for about 4 hours, or until the apples are very soft.
When the apples are ready, carefully pluck out the lemon peel strips and put everything else into a blender or food processor, making sure to create a vent for the heat to escape. Process or blend until the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Serve the sauce warm or spoon it into jars to save for later. It’ll keep in the fridge for several days and actually freezes quite well too. Enjoy!
Pro tip: Store some of your sauce in mini mason jars (the jelly-sized ones). They’re very close to the size of store-bought apple sauce cups and they’re great in school lunches and as a snack kids can help themselves to independently.
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