Thursday, November 5, 2009

Crock-Pot Applesauce

I like my food like I like my men: Simple.

(Sorry, Baroy. I just couldn't resist.)

But, seriously, I like simple food. Good food, real food, cooked with a minimum of fuss. You'll probably notice that as I contribute here over the upcoming weeks and months. Most of my favorite family recipes are on the sparse side, spice-and-ingredient-wise.

Which isn't to say that I don't like me some seriously exotic curries and layered casseroles. But often? It's a couple of ingredients, and a pinch of salt or sugar.

This is that sort of recipe. Simple, easy. And yet, every time I take the time to make it, I get the sorts of kudos you'd think would be reserved for a souffle. Applesauce is one of those things that most of us assume is just as good out of a jar, not worth the time, not worth the effort. Until we get the real thing.

Just ask Em, who initially ignored the bowls of homemade applesauce I put on the table the other night, until both Baroy and I began spooning seconds onto our plates of leftover chicken and rice. She gave it a quick taste, and looked at me, startled.

"I thought I hated applesauce," she said. "But I guess I like real applesauce. It tastes like the inside of an apple pie!"

"That's because it is the inside of an apple pie," I replied.

Anyway, if you try this recipe and it doesn't do it for you, feel free to re-embrace the store-bought, and I won't say a word, I promise. But give it a go, just once. I'm fairly certain you'll never go back.

Crock-Pot Applesauce

About three pounds of apples (I like to mix it up as much as possible; the ones you see at left are Granny Smiths and Pink Ladies, from my local farmer's market, but any variety of sweet and tart will do.)

juice from one lemon

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Core, peel, and chop up the apples, adding them to your slow cooker as you go. (I "messily" peel my apples; I like the color a little bit of peel adds to the sauce, and it pretty much disintegrates as the apples cook, anyway. But if you're going to want super-smooth sauce, you may want to be more fussy about it than I am.)
After every couple of apples, I drizzle in some of the lemon juice and stir, to try to prevent the apples from browning while I prepare the rest. If you don't care about that, just add the lemon juice after you've finished with the apples.

2. Add brown sugar; stir in with apples and lemon juice.

3. Cover slow cooker with lid; cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.

4. Add cinnamon, but only if you like cinnamon, obviously. No harm, no foul if you leave it out. As for me, I usually start with about half a teaspoon, do the next step, taste, then add the rest if I feel it needs it.

5. Take a potato masher, and mash up the apples. If they aren't super-soft and mashable, re-cover and give them another hour or so in the slow cooker.

6. If you like your applesauce very smooth, you could always puree it with a blender or hand-blender, or put it through a food processor. Me, I like it with a little texture, so I've never done so.

And that's it, my friends.

Well, that's it except for the most important of questions: Served hot, or cold? In my mind, almost all foods are better when hot. Even in the summer, my stomach tends to crave warmth. Baroy, on the other hand, likes it cold. (I was going to revisit that whole "like he likes his women" concept here, but, So I actually split this batch into two, put both in the fridge (since we didn't eat it the night I made it), then microwaved my portion for dinner the next night and left his cold. I thought that was big of me. Don't you?

So...What about you guys? Warm applesauce, or cold? Just don't say no applesauce at all. Because that will make me cry.


  1. Cold applesauce. I really like the Motts applesauce out of the glass jar, but if someone served me your stuff, I'd eat it.

  2. Green, Green, Green...Not that I'm going to tell you how to live your life, but oh, sweetheart, you've gotta try it warm. Especially over potato latkes. For which I will be posting a (verrrrry simple) recipe in a few weeks. Watch this space. (Well, that space. Up there.)

  3. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE APPLESAUCE! Erm, sorry to shout. I really love applesauce...good, homemade applesauce. This sounds like what my Nana used to make whenever we visited the hills of NW Connecticut. *sigh*

    I like my applesauce both ways. As long as it's good, I don't much care about the temp. But, oooh, I like the idea of warm applesauce over latkes. Hurry up with that recipe, will you!? YUM.

  4. Applesauce - I can take it or leave it. Perhaps I'd like homemade variety better though. As soon as either get a new lid for my crockpot, or a whole new crockpot - I will give this a go. Scouts honor.

  5. This sounds wonderful--I can't wait to make it. I like it warm, too. Yum!

  6. I've made applesauce on the stove, and it is quite good. If I still owned a crock pot, I'd try it your way. ;-)

  7. Mmm, applesauce! I cannot wait to make this. And I'm most definitely in the "warm" camp -- as Em says, it's like the inside of apple pie that way! Great idea, thanks for posting it!

  8. I love homemade applesauce. I never had it from a jar until I had kids and ran out of spare time. Warm or cold? Both! I like it warm when it's part of a meal but tend to eat it cold when I grab a bowl of it w/ nothing to go with it.

  9. Kristen, we are going to lure you over to the crock side! It's my new goal in life. (Yes, I realize that's a little pathetic.)

    And all of you 'warm' fans are warming the cockles of my heart. ;-)

  10. I LOVE homemade applesauce...especially with a little (cooked) bacon and warm over a piece of bread. NUM NUM!!

  11. Never tried it warm, but now I'm intrigued... Sounds yummy!