As soon as the first signs of fall emerge, from the changing leaves to the crispness in the air, it’s go-time for all things autumnal, and this applesauce is one of the first dishes I race to make.
Whether I’m visiting one of the local farms, or strolling through the grocery store (yes, I am one of the few and the proud who actually adores grocery shopping), the shiny red and green apples always catches my eye, particularly in the fall. I’m immediately drawn to find a use for the quintessential autumnal fruit.
This particular dish really couldn’t be simpler, with only a few ingredients and just a couple minutes of prep time, yet the rewards are great, from the benefit of having a quick breakfast or side dish already prepared for the week, to a warm house filled with the earthy and autumnal scent of cinnamon.
And let’s talk about that color, shall we? Thanks to leaving the nutrition-rich skins on (to save both the fiber and a ton of time), as well as using a heavy hand with the cinnamon, the sauce develops a richer, darker hue than that of the typical store-bought variety.
Any apples will work for this recipe. I used half Gala and half Red Delicious for this one. Using a sweeter apple like Gala eliminates the need for added sugar while the firm crispness of Red Delicious allows for a chunkier quality to be retained in the sauce. But you can use whichever apples you can pick from your local farm on any given weekend, those that are on sale at the store (love that), or just your favorites. The taste can vary from tart to sweet, but you can adjust to your preference with additions of honey or sugar (or even other fruit, like berries, if you’re feeling adventurous).
I adore citrus and therefore always have lemons or lemon juice in my refrigerator. I use it in this recipe to add a brightness of flavor to the sauce but if you don’t have it, or don’t like it, just omit it.
Typically I nosh on this for a healthy breakfast, or as an accompaniment to my weekday lunchtime soup or sandwich, but it also moonlights as an impressive topping when warmed slightly, then spooned over vanilla ice cream. I’m not sure I can think of a sweeter way to end a fall day.
- 12 apples - any variety that you prefer
- 4 tablespoons cinnamon (approximately)
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Slice apples into chunks of similar size and put in slow cooker.
- Pour the lemon juice over the apples.
- Cover the apples completely with cinnamon.
- Set slow cooker for 4 hours on high (or 6-8 hours on low).
- After 4 hours, use a masher to create a sauce of the consistency you prefer.
- Add more cinnamon to taste, if necessary.
- Allow to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.
- Have a sweet tooth? Gently warm applesauce in a pan or microwave and spoon over your favorite ice cream!
- If making big batches, or looking to store for an extended period of time, seal applesauce in individual containers and freeze. Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours to thaw.