I eat a LOT of applesauce (as a side dish, for breakfast, for a snack with a piece of cheese, you name it) and it seems silly to be buying it so frequently. I'm not always able to find unsweetened kind every single time I go to the store, so I make my own when I can, the way I like it and I finally got around to writing things down last night when I made a batch. Some may prefer a little more sweet in this recipe or may need to compensate for the apples being more more tart occasionally than other times. The types of apples I use vary, but I try for 2 or more kinds, any combination except Red or Golden Delicious as these types don't seem to make good applesauce. Organic seem to be best, but the selection wasn't very good for buying for this batch, so I peeled the non-organic apples before coring and chopping because I didn't want all the wax, but peeling is not an absolutely necessary step. Throwing it all in the crock pot is so easy and makes the house smell so nice!
- 3 granny smith apples or 3 other tart apples, cored and chopped into chunks
- 3 fuji apples, cored and chopped into chunks
- 3 mcintosh apples, cored and chopped into chunks
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 lemon, zest of
- 1 -2 cup organic no-sugar-added cranberry juice
- 1⁄2 vanilla bean
- 1 star anise (optional)
- Put all ingredients in crock pot, using 1 c cranberry juice if you prefer a thicker sauce, 1 1/2 c if you like a thinner sauce.
- Stir to coat.
- Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 hours.
- Check consistency of applesauce, adding more cranberry juice if too thick.
- Mash apple chunks with potato masher to desired texture, leaving it as chunky as you like.
- Taste for preferred tartness or sweetness, adding any sugar, honey or sugar substitute for your tastes.
- Cook on low for 1 to 2 more hours.
- Remove vanilla bean and star anise.
- Vanilla bean can be rinsed and kept for a few more similar uses.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Can be easily frozen and can be used when substituting for oil in reducing fat in some recipes.
It never occurred to me to use a variety of apples in my applesauce but it worked terrifically. The pink of the cranberry juice was a bit off-putting but it is pretty. I understand lemon juice also turns applesauce pink. Most difficult part is peeling and coring the apples but I just got a mechanical one for Christmas so I'm looking forward to next year's apple crop. I'll zoom through this and I'll also try sugar free white grape juice for sweetening and skip the lemon juice.
I added whole cranberries, also. Yum. Topped with my homemade vanilla yogurt.
Used Braeburn, Fuji and Granny Smiths...Fabulous, and no additional sweetener needed!