Saturday, October 10, 2009

Healthy Slow Cooker Applesauce

I love making homemade slow cooker applesauce because it allows me to throw the apples into the crockpot, clean the house, run errands, and then have an amazing dessert ready and waiting for me. Last weekend, when we were visiting my high school friend Sarah, we went apple-picking at Patterson Fruit Farm- it was a trip down memory lane. As a child, our family went apple picking annually at Patterson's, and to this day, they make the freshest and best-tasting apple cider around. We picked a variety of apples- Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, and Jonagolds. I returned back to Cincinnati with a large bag-and-a-half of fresh-picked apples. I plan on making caramel apple pie soon, but with the chilly and rainy morning we had this morning, I was looking forward to homemade slow-cooked applesauce today.

This recipe is so versatile. If you are using tart apples, you can add a few Tbsp of brown sugar (or even Splenda) to sweeten. For a thinner apple sauce consistency, you can add 1/2-1 cup of apple cider or water. If you like cinnamon, add 1/2 tsp. I've also added 1 tsp vanilla extract with tasty results.

My "niece" Anna turned 6 months and has recently started to eat baby food. Her mother and my good friend Naomi mentioned that she especially loves eating pureed fruit. I wanted to create a recipe that truly relies on unadulterated apple flavors, with no additives, additional sugar, or even flavoring- just fresh apples and a dash of lemon juice. I prefer leaving the peels on since it provides a wonderful color and a little bit of texture. I love this recipe- it is basic yet simply delicious! (I made this in my new 4-qt slow cooker, but this recipe can easily be doubled to fit a 6-qt slow cooker.)

6 medium-large apples, cored and coarsely chopped (I used Red Delicious and Jonagolds)
Juice from 1 lemon

1. Toss your apples into your slow cooker.
2. Add the lemon juice, and toss to evenly coat.
3. Cook on Low for 6-7 hours or High for 3-4 hours.
4. Use a potato masher to mash up the apples.

Yields: 5 cups of applesauce

Source: A Piggly-Wiggly original


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