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Wednesday
Nov062013

Easy Crock-Pot Applesauce

I almost managed to let fall go by without posting an apple recipe. I just couldn't let that happen so I made a run to the local apple orchard in the next town over and bought a ton of apples (by a ton I mean 16lbs.) I'm absolutely fortunate to live by not one, not two, but three apple orchards so this time of year good quality apples are in abundance in my household. In the past I may have told you that I'm not really a huge fan of apples, but that just isn't the case any longer. This year I found my perfect sauce apple, called Snow Sweet. It was developed by the University of Minnesota for cold weather climates and is a cross between Sharon and Connell Red varieties.

There are so many aspects of this particular apple that make it perfect for sauce, but it's great for fruit trays as well because it is slow to oxidize and turn brown. 

Easy Crock-Pot Applesauce
makes roughly 8 half pints or 4 pints 

Ingredients

10-12 medium sized apples
1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Optional:
cinnamon or other spices
sugar, either brown or white

Equipment

Apple peeler/corer/slicer
potato masher or food processor
water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
8 - 10 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
jar grabber
magnetic lid lifter
funnel 
butter knife
ladle
clean dish towels and cloths 

Directions

  • Wash and peel apples, place in crock-pot, then cover with lemon juice to prevent browning.

    Thinner apples will cook much faster. This is where an apple peeler/corer/slicer comes in handy, it will also cut your time peeling apples in half. Beg or borrow one if you can, you won't regret it.
  • Open vanilla bean pod with a knife and scrape the insides into the applesauce. Once insides are removed, toss the entire pod in with the apples.
  • OPTIONAL: Add sugar to taste. Personally I prefer not to use sugar and instead use a sweeter variety of apple.
  • Cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until apples mash easily. You can also puree the applesauce in a food processor if you'd like a finer sauce, but I prefer mine chunky.
  • While waiting for applesauce to cook, sterilize your canning jars, rings, potato masher, and any other equipment that will come into contact with the applesauce. You can do this easily by putting everything in the dishwasher and running it. Just don't put your equipment in with dirty dishes.
  • While your jars are sterilizing fill your stock pot with water and let it boil. It takes awhile for a large pot of water to boil, so keep this in mind. You don't want to fill your jars before your water is ready.
  • Once you're ready to fill your jars, place a sauce pan on the stove. Add your canning lids and fill pan with several inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer and allow the sealing wax on the lids to soften for several minutes.
  • Fill sterilized jars with hot applesauce leaving 1/2 inch head space at the top. Remove air bubbles with a knife, wipe the rims with a clean damp rag, place lids on top and fasten ring until ļ¬ngertip tight.

Boiling Water Canning

  • Place sealed jars in on a rack in the canner or stock pot and cover with a lid.

    You do not want the jars coming into contact with the bottom of the canner or stock pot because they will bounce around and likely break.
     
  • Process half pints and pints for 15 minutes, quarts for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Time starts once the water has come to a complete boil again. You may need to add boiling water to keep the water level up as the jars are processing.
  • Remove jars from canner, set on a clean dish towel and let them rest for several hours until cool. You should hear a popping sound as the lids seal. 
  • To check the seals of your jars press the center gently with your finger. If it moves up and down the jar is not sealed. You can either reprocess using a new lid (never reuse an old lid) or once the jar is cool, eat the applesauce. You know you want to and you deserve the treat after such hard work!
  • Label with detailed contents and date, then store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Other Notes
Make sure to experiment with the flavors different types of apples will produce. I used an even mix of Snow Sweet and Macoun apples for this batch. You likely won't be able to find these particular types unless you live in Minnesota where they were developed, although I know of several orchards in Wisconsin who grow them now.

My local orchard suggested starting will Cortland apples as a base and picking a slightly tart apple to offset some of the sweetness.