I learned how to make applesauce years ago, and I marveled at how easy it is. I love to make applesauce, and the crockpot makes it especially easy. Seriously. You start it and then you walk away for some hours. I actually forgot about my applesauce this time, allowing it to cook all afternoon and overnight. When I remembered it the next day, it had gotten a little closer to apple butter than apple sauce, but it still tasted great. Unless you let it cook wildly too long (like days), you don't have to worry about burning applesauce when you make it in the crockpot. When making it on the stove top, you have to keep careful watch and stir often to prevent sticking and burning. This day, I did a typical Tara thing and went overboard with the preparations for a homeschool lesson on apples. I was planning to do an apple taste test with Grace (post to come in a few days), and I found 15 different varieties of apples. So I bought 15 different varieties of apples. So my applesauce was made with 15 different apples, no 2 alike. It came out with a really, really, really nice flavor, so I highly recommend that. The clerk at the checkout might not appreciate your one-of-each method (some of my apples came from Wal-Mart where each and every apple had to be weight and rung up separately), but if you go to the farmer's market, they probably won't care as much. Strite's Farm Market in Harrisburg was perfectly happy to sell me one of each apple, piled into a half-peck basket. If you're going to use a lot of one variety of apple, my recommendation is the Honeycrisp which comes close to being God's perfect apple in every possible way. Just saying.
How to Make Applesauce in the Crockpot
I have a couple of notes to share before I get started with the recipe. First, I have a 6-quart crockpot, and my raw apples completely filled it to the top. They cooked down by more than half, leaving me with a little less than 3 quarts of applesauce. Second, homemade applesauce doesn't have the same consistency of store-bought applesauce. I think this is a good thing, but if you're not used to it, you may be surprised. If you want it to be really smooth (why would you?!), you can purÃƒ©e the applesauce or put it through a food mill or grinder. If you ruin your applesauce in that way, we can't be friends any more. Just kidding. But don't invite me over for homemade pureed applesauce. I like mine to have some chunks. Third, there will most likely be a thin liquid atop your applesauce. Leave the lid off of the crockpot if you want to get rid of that. Fourth, here is my finished applesauce: Just after the apples soften, they are yellowish. If you continue to cook them (on purpose or by forgetting about them), the sauce turns brown. There's very little difference in the flavor of yellow and of brown applesauce. The brown is maybe a little sweeter and a little thicker. If you leave the sauce a long time, like most of a day, it will eventually turn into apple butter. If you aren't familiar, apple butter is a sweet paste that you can spread on toast instead of jelly. It is heavenly, so if you overcook your applesauce significantly, just skip the sugar and enjoy it as a condiment instead of a side dish.
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