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Slow cookers are a wonderful way to prepare homemade applesauce. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it method that means you’ll have one less component to worry about when it’s time to put dinner on the table. It’s also a healthy recipe that both children and adults can enjoy together (and prepare together!). It’s also a great after school snack for kids.
For this recipe, it’s best to use an even mix of both sweet and tart apples. Some excellent options are Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apples. Once the applesauce has finished cooking, you can always add a bit of lemon juice for extra acidity or some sugar if it needs a touch of additional sweetness. Lemon also can help preserve this applesauce if you intend to freeze it. Any sweetener will work: granulated white sugar, light brown sugar, honey, and light agave nectar are all good options. But more often than not, applesauce needs no sugar at all because apples have just the right level of sweetness on their own.
The larger you chop the apples, the more texture the applesauce will ultimately have; aim for 1-2 inch pieces. If you prefer it to have a consistency similar to jarred store brands, you can puree the sauce in a food processor, blender, or directly in the slow cooker with an immersion blender after it has finished cooking. Homemade applesauce can stay in the refrigerator for 5 days, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- 3 pounds Stemilt apples (approximately 6 large apples), preferably a mix of sweet and tart
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (approximately 1 large lemon)
- 1/4 cup water
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- Peel, core and chop the apples (note: there are inexpensive peeler/corer/slicer all-in-one tools that make this process incredibly fast and simple).
- Place the chopped apples, lemon juice, water and salt in the bowl of a slow cooker, as well as the butter, cinnamon and nutmeg, if using. Stir the ingredients and close the lid.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Optional: for a smoother consistency, the applesauce can be pureed in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.
- Serve warm, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.