Tart Crockpot Applesauce

by Kelly on September 28, 2009

apple sauceLast weekend while I was procrastinating about my coursework for the week (Funny how all my worst habits from college are rearing their ugly head.  Thankfully this week’s class still went pretty well anyhow.) I decided it was time to whip up something special using my fresh produce.  My produce drawers have been out of control lately and I knew that if I ever hoped to get this week’s CSA share to fit I needed to make some room.  The challenge was I had limited time and room in my waistline to spare, so I needed something healthy and easy.  After reading Shannon from Tri to Cook rave about homemade apple sauce I decided it was time to whip out the slowcooker and make some.  I’d never actually had homemade apple sauce and didn’t particularly like the store-bought kind that much (although I do use it often as a fat substitute in baked goods) so I had no idea what to expect.  Generally I agree with Shannon’s take on things so I decided if she liked homemade apple sauce perhaps I would to. 

I had just a couple of criteria for the winning apple sauce recipe.  First, I wanted something that would be low in added sugar.  I generally think of applesauce as a ‘healthier’ food so in my mind if I’m going to add a lot of sugar to it (some recipes called for at least 1/2 cup of sugar) I’d rather just make muffins or a crisp.  I ended up adapting a recipe from Erin’s Food Files for Crockpot Applesauce.  I loved that the recipe only called for 1 tablespoon of added sugar and that it used lemon juice and peel for added brightness.  I adapted it slightly based on the apples I had on hand and a desire for a little spice to kick things up.  The resulting recipe couldn’t have been easier.  In six hours I’d gone from half a produce drawer full of orchard-fresh apples to silky, spicy apple sauce.  It had a lovely tartness and an aromatic scent that tasted like fall in a bowl.  Best of all, periodic tastings of the apple sauce as it simmered away led to a revelation: applesauce is really good hot.  Since I’m generally not a fan it’s no surprise I’ve never had it this way before, but it was easily my favorite way to eat it.  I loved how the heat made certain flavors more apparent and upped the comfort food factor.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be a bonifed applesauce lover, but this recipe convinced me that fresh is a world away from store bought.  Now I just need to whip up something worth pairing with such delicious apple sauce like some potato pancakes or pork.

Tart Crockpot Applesauce
Yields 1 quart
Ingredients:
-8 cooking apples (I used a mix of McIntosh and Gravenstein but any apple that is recommended for cooking will do), peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
-1 tablespoon raw sugar
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-strip of lemon peel (Mine was approximately 1/2 inch x 2 inches)
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients and cook over low heat for 6 hours. Remove peel, and mash or blend to desired consistancy. Enjoy or refrigerate for later.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren September 29, 2009 at 6:34 am

The pumpkin pie spice sounds like a wonderful addition to apple sauce. I’ll have to remember that tip!

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie September 29, 2009 at 9:38 am

Great recipe and this apple sauce sounds just delightful!

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The Duo Dishes September 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

We’ve done apple butter. Apple sauce should be next. Doesn’t sound too hard. Any recommendations for those sans crockpot?

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Kelly September 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Lauren – It’s definitely a simple addition that ups the homey flavor without making it hard to use as a fat substitute.

Natasha – Thanks

Duo Dishes – A plain old saucepan w/ supervision would work.

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Reeni September 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Homemade applesauce is the best! I bet it smelled amazing while it was cooking!

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shannon September 29, 2009 at 10:16 pm

i usually just use apples and cinnamon, but maybe this year I’ll mix up my spices 🙂 glad it didn’t dissapoint as much as store bought applesauce does! it’s the bigger chunks and smoother texture, me thinks!

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sherri September 30, 2009 at 8:20 am

Sounds great and I could Smell it cooking away!

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Mark Scarbrough September 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Sounds like so much fun. I’m wondering if it would work with crab apples–which are in abundance in my yard right now. I’ll have to give it a whirl (probably with a little more sugar). And hooray for the raw sugar! Turbinado rules!

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Erin September 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

*sigh* This sounds delightful! Why did I give my crockpot away?!

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Carolyn Jung October 1, 2009 at 2:27 am

I like putting a little grated ginger in my homemade applesauce. But then again, you know how I love putting ginger in everything. 😉

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Bryan V. October 1, 2009 at 5:42 am

Does it taste good? putting ginger in a applesauce is new to me.

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Hannah October 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

A crockpot is pretty much the only kitchen appliance I don’t own, and now you’re tempting me to change that… If only I had space to store it! 😉

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Guava October 1, 2009 at 12:00 pm

oh nom nom nom… it always makes me sad when my summer fruits start to disappear from farmer’s but this will make me look a little more kindly upon the apples…

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Kelly October 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Reeni – It absolutely did. Free air refreshener!

Shannon – I agree. It’s so customizable down to texture and flavor. I also think using a combination of really fresh local apples doesn’t hurt either.

Sherri – Thanks. The smell definitely adds to the appeal.

Mark – I’m not tremendously knowledgeable about the texture of crab apples but I seem to remember them being good for crab apple jelly so I don’t see why not.

Erin – I’m amazed you gave your crockpot away. Now that I am used to cooking with one I really love it.

Carolyn – Ooh. I love the addition of ginger – sophisticated AND tasty.

Hannah – I actually do not have room to store it. It lives in my bedroom closet.

Guava – I know the end of summer fruits is sad but I love fall apples.

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