I admit, I’ve never gone apple picking. I’ll admit further, I’m not sure I ever want to, but what I do enjoy doing – like clockwork every Fall/Winter – is making a batch of my homemade applesauce.
There are a few things I love about making applesauce by hand. For one, it’s super easy. Two, it’s guaranteed that your applesauce won’t contain all those crummy additives regularly found in store-bought brands. And three, you get to choose exactly how you want your sauce to be seasoned.
There is something to be said for fresh, crisp, Summer-style applesauce, but that’s not what we are going for with this recipe. As each day gets a little colder outside, I’m inviting the warm flavors of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves to spice up these apples.
I’m using Granny Smith apples this time around, but I’ve also experimented with Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and a blend of all the above – each achieve equally successful results. I’d say start with your favorite type of apple and go from there!
What You’ll Need
Approximately 20 apples
1/4-1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix (I get mine from Trader Joes)
A pinch of salt
Gather your apples, peel them and cut out the cores – the apples are going to deconstruct into mush relatively soon, so don’t worry about it needing to look pretty.
Throwing your apple chunks into your slow-cooker, add the honey, pure vanilla extract, salt, and pumpkin spice mix. If you don’t have pumpkin spice mix, feel free to create your own blend using cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom (about 1/2 tsp of each). Once it’s all in the slow cooker, give it all a toss so all the apple slices are more evenly coated.
A note about the honey: I don’t enjoy my applesauce overly sweet, so I never add very much. If you’re thinking you want your applesauce to resemble something like a dessert – keep in mind, even the most tart of apples have plenty of fructose to donate to the cause. Considering that, I would not recommend using anymore than 1/2 cup of honey in a single batch of applesauce. Remember, more is not better, more is more.
Let the mixture slow cook on low for 6 hours. Add in the lemon juice when you stir up the apples. Now, I personally like my applesauce a little on the chunky side, so I just use a fork to stir it up, but you’re welcome to use an immersion blender if you’d like a smoother, finished product.
Let cool, and enjoy!
I often times freeze half the finished batch in an attempt to make it last longer, but it’s still usually gone by the end of the week.
Also, consider this you gift giving people – whip up a batch of this and ladle it into colorful, glass containers. Package it with some grass-fed butter and your favorite gluten-free scones. Your friends and neighbors will be begging you for the recipes! 😉