Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Applesauce - Eating, Canning, and Freezing Instructions

Slow Cooker Applesauce is probably one of the easiest recipes I have in my arsenal to make. I love that I can sweetened it to taste, spice it if I want to, and make enough to can.

Slow Cooker Applesauce also has the benefit of saving me money by using the slow cooker and not the stove. I also like this recipe because there is no babysitting the stove! I have better things to do with my time than babysit the stove.

Per pint, Slow Cooker Applesauce is also cheaper than purchasing it in the store. I know what is in my applesauce versus the store bought applesauce which can have high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives that are not necessary!

During the fall, apples are cheap! If you don't have a tree or two to pick from, you can pick up 10-20 pounds pretty cheaply at the store. I know our local stores were advertising $.69 a pound for apples during this last fall. When you do the price break down, you can make your own cheaper than the store. During the rest of the year, I can find apples for $.89 - $.99 per pound which isn't a bad price. I refuse to pay more than that anyway. I can usually pick up bags of apples on clearance for $.99 a bag. What Dane doesn't eat gets made into this applesauce.

The apples will turn brown as the slow cooker cooks them down. I am okay with this. Some people might not be okay with this and they can choose to add Fruit Fresh or lemon juice.

Also, I am using a 6 quart slow cooker. If you are using a smaller one, adjust the recipe to fit your slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

20-30 apples, peeled, chopped or sliced with cores removed
sweetener of choice, to taste
spices, to taste (I use cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg)

1. Place the apples in the slow cooker. I run my apples through an apple peeler/corer/slicer and throw the apples in the slow cooker as I go. When the slow cooker is full, I put the lid on so 20-30 apples is an estimate.

2. Set the slow cooker on low and walk away. Occasionally check the slow cooker and stir if you would like. It does help to break up the apples.

3. After 6-10 hours, if your apples are broken down and basically mush, you can do a few different things. I like to use the potato masher to get the apples to the chunky applesauce consistency. Then I sweeten them and spice them. If you like a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender, food mill, or a food processor and puree them smooth. Then you can sweeten and spice them.

4. Serve as part of a meal or make it the meal. Who am I to judge? Otherwise, move to the canning portion of this recipe. You can also freeze this applesauce.

To Can Applesauce:
1. Fill water canner and bring water to boiling.
2. Clean jars and rings with hot soapy water and dry. Keep jars and lids hot, either using the water canner or the warm setting in your oven.
3. Fill jars with hot applesauce leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim of the jars off with a wet washcloth.
4. Place lids and rings on jars. Tighten them to finger tight.
5. Process pints in the boiling water canner for 20 minutes. If using quart jars, process for 30 minutes.
6. Take out of canner and let cool. You should hear a pinging sound as the lids cool and seal. Let cool for 24 hours and put away. I generally get 4-6 pints of applesauce canned, depending on how much we eat first.

To Freeze Applesauce:
1. If using containers or jars, clean them in hot soapy water along with the lids. If using bags or a Food Saver, get them out and ready to go.
2. Fill containers/jars with hot applesauce, filling only 3/4 of the container/jar. You need to allow room for the applesauce to expand as it freezes. Otherwise, you will have a big mess. If filling bags, the same philosophy. Fill only 3/4 full, squeeze as much air out as you can, and seal.
3. No matter what you are using, place them in the refrigerator for 24 hours to cool. If you don't moisture from the hot to the freezer may cause freezer burn, breaking of containers or bags, and a mess in your freezer.
4. Place into the freezer after the 24 hours cool down in the fridge.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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