Crock-Pot Spiced Blueberry Applesauce
makes roughly 8 half pints or 4 pints
8 large organic Gala apples or any other sweet variety (approximately 5lbs)
16 ounces organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
½ teaspoon cardamom, ground
¼ teaspoon allspice, ground
¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
This recipe can be scaled to produce a smaller amount that can be frozen for baby
2 large organic Gala apples or any other sweet variety
4 ounces organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ginger, ground
2 pinches cardamom, ground
1 pinch allspice, ground
1 pinch cloves, ground
potato masher, food mill, or food processor
If freezing for baby food:
Ice cube tray or freezer containers
ziploc storage bags
If canning for the whole family:
water-bath canner or stock pot with lifter
8 - 10 half pint canning jars with lids and rings
magnetic lid lifter
clean dish towels and cloths
- Thoroughly wash all fruit before beginning, cut away any brown areas, then slice and peel apples. Cover peeled with lemon juice to prevent browning. Keep in mind that thin 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.
- Combine all ingredients in the Crock-Pot and cook on high for 3 - 4 hours, or until apples mash easily. You can also puree the applesauce in with a food mill, blender, or food processor for a finer sauce.If you have scaled this recipe down to freeze, check sauce after 1 hour to see if it has cooked down far enough to mash or run through a food mill. Cooking time for the smaller amount varies widely depending on the size of the crock pot, if it is not ready after 1 hour continue to check ever 30 minutes so the sauce does not overcook.
Boiling Water Canning, including instructions for canning food for baby
North Dakota State University - Fargo Extension Service has a great PDF file for home canning fruit and fruit products. It even supplies processing times for fruit-based baby foods which require a longer processing time than standard fruit sauce recipes. Keep in mind that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for canning when making purees for babies. With the exception of apple and pears sauces it is recommended you not puree the food before canning because processing times have not been determined for safe canning of these items.
Processing times for this recipe when canning for baby
are 20 minutes for elevations of 0-1,000 ft and 25 minutes for elevations of 1,001-6,000 ft. If you are not canning this recipe with the intention of making baby food the processing times are 15 minutes for elevations of 0-2,001 and 20 minutes for elevations of 2,000 ft. 4,000 ft. These times are for half-pints and pints only.
- 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 ﬁngertip tight.
- Place sealed jars on a rack in the canner or stock pot. Make sure jars are covered with water and that the waterline is about an inch over the top of the jars, then cover pot with 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. See above for processing times for baby food, they are different than standard canning processing times. 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.
Freezing for Baby
- Once you have pureed your applesauce, spoon it into an ice cube tray and cover with plastic wrap then place trays into the freezer.
- If using ice cube trays transfer frozen cubes to a ziplock bag once they have frozen solid. This will ensure more sanitary storage and help prevent freezer burn.
- Your frozen baby food will remain fresh for up to 3 months.
Make sure to experiment with the flavors different types of apples will produce. I used organic Galla apples for this batch because they were on sale at Whole Foods, but many varieties make a good sauce.
Both blueberries and apples are on the dirty dozen list. You may want to consider selecting organic varieties of both for this recipe, especially if you will be making baby food.
Garden-Robinson, Julie and Joan Hegerfeld-Baker. "Home Canning Fruit and Fruit Products." North Dakota State University Extension Service. PDF file.