I have a confession to make. I didn’t make anything but this applesauce with my apple bounty. 13 pounds of freshly-picked beauties and not a single pie or tart. No fritters, no apple butter, no cider.
What did I do with all of them? Well, I ate them. Raw. In front of the television. Late at night. Not all at once, but three or four at a time. Sure, they’re very tiny apples, but still, this was gluttony of pregnant proportions.
Last pregnancy it was oranges late at night watching Gossip Girl. This time it’s apples watching True Blood. Last pregnancy was tolerable, this one is excruciating. Apples and oranges.
But before I discovered that these apples were just too good to cook, I had my heart set on applesauce. So I experimented in the crock pot, thinking that it would bring out the natural sweetness of the apples without having to add a ton of sugar.
I was right. I used about 14 small apples and only needed to add 1/4 cup of sugar.
It tasted fresh and tart but still rich—it would be perfect over pork chops and amazing over ice cream. It’s also pretty damn good on its own. And best of all, besides prepping the apples there is very little work involved. Compared to the grocery store variety of applesauce, this easy homemade version is night and day. Or—and please forgive me— apples and oranges.
Make sure you’re using a tart variety of apple that is good for cooking. If you don’t have dark brown sugar, which tends to be more potent than light brown, adjust the amount of sugar by taste.
- 10 cups peeled, chopped apples (from approximately 7-8 large or 12-14 small apples)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 pinch salt
Place apples in a slow cooker and pour in water. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Mash apples with a fork or potato masher. Stir in cinnamon, sugar and salt. Serve.
Yield: 4 cups applesauce.