By Lisa Barthuly
Apples overflow here at our homestead in the fall and every year we put them up, in abundance, to enjoy until the next crop comes in! One of our favorite ways to preserve apples is to make applesauce in a slow cooker. Here at our homestead each year we make large quantities and enjoy it all winter long.
What Apples to Use
My grandmother always used Pink Ladies or Jonagolds—she was right, they make the most beautiful applesauce! For tarter applesauce, feel free to throw a few Granny Smiths in the mix.
How to Make Applesauce in a Slow Cooker or Crockpot
Applesauce is a pantry staple for my family, and thankfully, it is very simple to make and can up when you employ the use of your slow cooker.
Take your apples (any variety or a mixture, depending on your favorites!) and wash them.
Then peel them and slice off pieces (smaller sized chunks or thinner slices—no “half-an-apple” pieces here) of apple down to the core, and place them right into the slow cooker. Once your slow cooker is about 3/4 full or so, turn them on low, add in about a cup of water and a cup of sugar.
Then put the lid on and let it cook for about 4–6 hours, checking it every hour (or a little more often). You do not want your apples sticking or burning. If your sauce gets dry, just add a bit more water (although I rarely have this problem) and give it a good stir. Once your apples have cooked down and are the consistency you want, prepare to water-bath can it.
Homemade Applesauce Ideas
You can certainly add in some other goodies to create a different flavor to your applesauce! We’ve done ours with cinnamon, honey, and brown sugar and “red hots” candies!
Some folks will sprinkle their apples with lemon juice before putting the lid on the slow cooker, some cut up their apples into a bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent browning; however, it will brown up a bit when cooking in the crock nonetheless. Slow cooker applesauce is extremely forgiving and simply adapts to the maker’s personal preferences. It’s a beautiful thing! When I do make a batch with cinnamon, I just sprinkle a bit in at a time and stir, until my taste-testers unanimously agree on the end result. However, I usually always put up my grandmother’s recipe; it is the family favorite!
You can eat your applesauce fresh. It will keep in the fridge for about 4–7 days. You can freeze it in plastic containers or freezer bags; whatever your preference is there. I prefer to can it, so I am not reliant on my freezer. We do put up quite a large amount of applesauce each year since everyone loves it so that just makes sense for us.
I water bath my pints for 20 minutes and my quarts for 25 minutes. Check your Ball Blue Book of Canning or county extension office for times based on your elevation.
Putting up homemade applesauce is one of the easiest ways to preserve the harvest of the season. Try it today—it is so simple and so delicious, you will never buy store-bought applesauce again!
Take advantage of what He gives us, in its proper season … it is truly a labor of love for me.
Lisa Barthuly owns and operates www.HomesteadOriginals.comwith her husband and children. They live in the mountains of the American Redoubt—where she enjoys a simple, home-centered life, built on God’s foundations; studying Scripture, scratch baking and cooking, canning, making candles, gardening organically, and raising dairy goats and chickens. She’s the family herbalist and loves a round of competitive target practice! Visit her blog at: www.HomesteadOriginals.com/blog. Her book, A Simply Homemade Clean, is available on her website for autographed copies, as well as on Amazon.com and other retailers.