Chef’s Notes: Apples and autumn are so closely connected they are almost synonyms.
Yesterday I stopped at a roadside stand to pick up some apples because it doesn’t quite seem like autumn without an orchard apple or three. The funny looking little man with the thick German accent was quite delighted to see me; it must have a slow day at the farm.
I remarked on his lovely apples and told him I just needed a half dozen or so. He started filling a brown paper bag with apples – 6, 8, 11…. I stopped him and said I really did not need that many. He hurumphed and muttered something. Perhaps “Gute Äpfel!” (According to Babel Fish, that’s “good apples” in German.)
As I attempted to leave with my 75 “gute Äpfel” (that he only charged me $1 for), he also thrust a quart bottle of apple cider into my hand.
So….what to do with all these apples? Applesauce, of course! I googled and found several variations for crockpot applesauce. I mixed and matched and made some changes and created my own delicious recipe for crockpot applesauce. For best results, use sweet apples with a soft texture. I used a mixture of Gala, Empire, and Jonathan.
Makes about 8 cups
Apples – peeled, cored, sliced or cubed (If you want a chunky applesauce, make the pieces big. If you want a smoother applesauce, make the pieces smaller.)
Throw these in the crockpot.
(I used about 25 smallish apples. When they were prepared, the weight was approximately 3#.)
Pour over the apples:
2 tsp. maple syrup (the real stuff, not the flavored stuff)
1/2 C. apple cider
Then sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (depending how cinnamony you want it)
Lay two or three thick slices of lemon on top. (The lemons supposedly enhance the flavor.)
Cover the crockpot and cook on low 4-6 hours. Take out the lemons and discard. Mash to desired consistency with a potato masher or fork. If you want it super smooth, use an immersion blender. Enjoy warm or chilled.