I recently bought a huge bag of slightly bruised apples for 50% off at the grocery store and now have enough applesauce to last me for snacking all through final exams this upcoming week. I always love finding discounted apples and bananas at the grocery store because even though they are no longer the best for eating, they are perfect for baking with! Instead of making a pie or an apple crisp like I usually would, I decided to make a homemade version of one of my favourite snacks. I love eating applesauce on its own, using it as a topping for toast or oatmeal, and adding it into my granola or plain yogurt. Making your own applesauce is so easy with the help of a crock pot, since all you need to do is throw all the ingredients inside then forget about it for a few hours until your nose tells you that there is something delicious waiting for you to dig in! I also added some fresh cranberries into this applesauce, but feel free to leave them out if you don't have any on hand. With the cranberries added in this would make a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce for a holiday meal.
5-7 large apples, peeled - I used a mixture of Gala and Spartan. You can also leave the apple peels on if you plan on blending the applesauce with an immersion blender to smooth it out once it is cooked
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries - These are optional but they add lots of flavour and give the applesauce a nice pink colour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger - This is another optional add-in but it compliments the cinnamon and nutmeg very well
5 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup - If you don't have maple syrup or don't want a hint of maple flavour in your applesauce them you can substitute with brown or white sugar instead
Peel the apples, then chop them into small chunks. Place them in the crock pot with the cranberries. Don't worry about thawing the cranberries first if you are using frozen.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and water and stir to mix everything together.
Cook on high for about 3-4 hours, or until the apples are very soft and mushy. Mash the apples in the crock pot using a large spoon or potato masher, until it is the consistency you want. If you would like very smooth applesauce then you may want to use an immersion blender or transfer the applesauce to a blender and puree on low.
Once the apples are mashed, stir in the maple syrup. Taste and adjust the sweetness and other flavours to your preference. Depending on how tart the cranberries are you may want to use a bit more sweetener.
Store the prepared applesauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy warm or cold.
*Recipe by Brooke McMillan