As I was emailing and talking with Scott Savokinas for his Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe, he mentioned to me that he had an overnight slow cooker applesauce recipe which he was willing to share. To appreciate this, one would have to understand what happens with applesauce in my house. One, it is always home made and never purchased (I know, I know, why go through the trouble?). Two, I typically use fresh cinnamon my mother in law brings me from Ecuador. Three, my kids (well 2 of the 3) go nuts over it. Let’s just say a batch of fresh applesauce doesn’t last long around here.
I typically make applesauce the way my mother does. I throw a bunch of apples (skin, core and seeds) into a pot, add whole sticks of cinnamon and a very small amount of water, cook on low and wait for the mush. Put the mush through a food mill and I’m done.
Since the fall, I have managed to deplete every last jar I preserved and with May not being peak apple season, it’s actually been difficult to find a blend of apples. However, with a little perseverance, excitement over a new recipe, and fresh delivery of cinnamon from my mother in law it all came together.
So, thanks to Scott and my mother in law, I am trying this recipe in the hopes that it frees up some prep time and creates an easier and faster mashing experience. When we have roast pork for dinner tonight, this could come in very handy; it’s the only way my daughter will eat pork and I’m not a two-meal-in-a-night kind of person. Thank you Scott for sharing this recipe with me.
Scott’s Slow Cooker Applesauce
- About 12-16 apples, just about any variety and they do not have to be perfect.
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- Small amount of water, sugar and salt
- Peel, core and coarsely chop as many apples as will fit in your crock pot (You can actually mound the apples higher than the top of the crock pot itself, since they cook down a lot).
- Add 1-3 cinnamon sticks, each broken in half, to the apples. The number of cinnamon sticks depends on how much you like cinnamon. Push them in and amongst the apples, evenly spreading them out.
- Place the lid on top of the apples, turn the crock pot to low and let the apples cook for 6-8 hours or until they are soft enough to mush when stirred with a long-handled spoon. Or let the apples cook overnight, and wake up to the amazing aroma of apples and cinnamon – yum!
- Taste the applesauce and adjust the sweetness by adding light brown sugar (or agave nectar, sugar in the raw, jaggery, etc.). If you add the sweetener to the apples while they are cooking, the sugar will maintain the crispness of the apples, preventing them from becoming soft and turning into ‘sauce’. Adjust with a pinch or two of salt, which will balance the sweetness.
- Mash up the apples and remove cinnamon sticks. Or, pass cooked mushed apples though a food mill.
- Serve warm or cold, depending on your preference
Notes from my experience:
- I did not peel my apples; I never do. This is what gives applesauce its color (think of it as the equivalent of leaving the skins on grapes to make red wine instead of white) and I’m lazy.
- I cooked my apples on low for the full 8 hours and then forgot about them while my Crock-Pot stayed on the warm setting. In my opinion, I should have turned off my Crock-Pot earlier and let them rest for a bit. They were almost too soft. However, after some time cooling, the sauce did thicken and then I sent it through the food mill.
- You will notice from the photo that the applesauce is a red/brown color. I’m not sure if this is the result of the skins, or the fresh whole cinnamon I used. In the fall when I use Paula Red apples the applesauce is pink. So fun.
Be warned: This is a favorite! As Scott wrote to me, “I started making the Crock-Pot Applesauce about 6/7 years ago, when my older daughter was in preschool. She would bring it in to her school whenever she was assigned the class snack, and both the children and the teachers loved it so much, it became expected when both she and my younger daughter were assigned the snack. Although we didn’t actually ‘plot’ it out, I think my girls were on the snack schedule just a bit more frequently than the other kids :-).”