Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday Favorites - 4 Ingredient Slow Cooker Apple Sauce

This morning in the kitchen, Empire apples

Hello one and all, I'm back after quite a long blogging break, and ready to share with you a recipe for the best apple sauce I've ever made! 

This morning I decided to make another batch, and this time I'm freezing most of it for the upcoming cold months since someone (me) finished off the first batch in no time. 

And I'm not in the least bit sorry about that because it was Just That Good. 

Gala apple in hand (September)

Into your slow cooker/crock pot on the low setting for at least 5 hours, stirring every so often:

The first time I made the slow cooker apple sauce back in September, I used five pounds of Gala apples (17 small-ish apples), but this morning I'm using six pounds of larger Empire apples, peeled, cored, and sliced or chopped - 3 cinnamon sticks - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice - 1/4 cup water. 

As with making apple sauce on the stove, the same goes with making apple sauce in the slow cooker: Different apples will equal different consistencies and different sweetness, along with the amount you use, so you may have to play with the amount of water (likely less, not more than what's listed above), cinnamon and sugar you add based on the type of apples you use, but you'll get the hang of that the more often you make it!

Our slow cooker is a larger one, a five quart or bigger I believe, so a smaller one would likely take longer. More apples and/or larger pieces will also take longer, but if your slow cooker is a large one, 5 hours seems to be the magic number. I used a potato masher to get what few apples that hadn't broken down during the cook time. (I prefer a chunkier apple sauce so I wasn't too concerned with getting it down to a smooth consistency).  

A peep inside the slow cooker at the apple sauce

At the end, I spooned out roughly two cups into a small sauce pan to make apple butter on the stove, removed the cinnamon sticks from the slow cooker, and then added one tablespoon of sugar to the applesauce in the slow cooker to cool. (If you prefer your applesauce sweeter, adjust to your liking). 

Apple butter you have to watch like a hawk so it doesn't burn! I put it on low heat, uncovered, added a new cinnamon stick to it and made sure to stir every time it started to bubble. It turns a much darker color. (Hard to see from the photo below, but that's the apple butter on the far right). At about 45 minutes I removed it from the heat to cool.

Place in fridge once cool. If you don't freeze what you make, you'll need to eat it within roughly a week, because without preservatives, you don't want to risk getting sick if it goes bad, even with it being in the fridge! (After thawing frozen batches, please keep this in mind as well. It should keep in the freezer well roughly six months).

Some of September's slow cooker apple sauce & apple butter

I will never make apple sauce on the stove again! Slow cooker apple sauce is the way to go for me from now on. And it has ruined me on store-bought, even organic store-bought! 

What is one of your favorite Autumn recipes to make and share at this time of year?

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