Fall must be one of my favorite seasons. I love the cooler nights and the crisp Autumn air. The smells and colors of the season are just spectacular! Apple cider, changing leaves, pumpkins, mums, campfires, smores, the pumpkin bread at Whole Foods, I could go on and on.
Fall also has the significance of shedding the old – like the way the trees shed their leaves, the grass browns and the flowers go to sleep in preparation for the cold winter ahead. 2020 has been a year, and I sure am ready for fall to shed the awfulness of it all.
At the same time, fall is a season of reflection and gratefulness.
One of my favorite ways to pay homage to the season is to cook with its flavors. I grew up in Western, NY where apples are their thing. My parents still travel back there throughout the year and I always beg them to return with New York apples. Just a few weeks ago, after one of their trips, they presented me with two bags full of apples. I quickly got to work peeling, coring and chopping in preparation for my Homemade Crockpot Applesauce.
Aside from the time it takes to peel and core the apples, this recipe is an easy 3-ingredient hit (apples, cinnamon stick and lemon peel). My kids love it and look forward to when the apples arrive from Grandma and Grandpa.
You may think that it is cheaper and less labor-intensive to buy a jar of applesauce from the store, and you’d be right. BUT, do you know what you are getting in that jar? Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on the label?
After being schooled on label reading a few years ago, I now read every label when I am grocery shopping, which is probably why it takes me so long to grocery shop. If you look at a traditional jar of applesauce, the ingredients listed are: apples, water and ascorbic acid. What that means is that you are buying watered-down applesauce and you are paying for that water.
However, when you make it yourself, you are getting only the ingredients that you put into it and you can make it as smooth or as chunky as you like. Another added benefit is that it makes the house smell amazing! I encourage you to give this recipe a try and find a friend or two to help you peel the apples. It will cut down on prep time and you’ll have fun doing it!
What you’ll need:
- A whole bunch of apples (depending on the size of your slow cooker). Mixed varieties work best as they give a more rounded flavor. You can even add a ripe pear or two if you have them hanging around (trust me on this one).
- 1 cinnamon stick
- The peel of one lemon (yellow part only)
How to make it:
Peel, core and chop the apples. Place them in the slow cooker. Be sure to fill the slow cooker as full as you can with the lid still being able to fit. Add in the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Put the lid on the slow cooker and set to low. The applesauce is done when the apples have cooked down and can be easily mashed, if desired (about 4 hours).
Don’t forget to remove and discard the cinnamon stick and lemon peel before serving. Enjoy on its own, in your oatmeal or as a snack. The applesauce can be put into airtight containers and frozen – so be sure to make a big batch to enjoy all fall and winter long!