Friends! I have happened upon an extremely fortunate accident! Now I know I should tell you this was in my plan the whole time, but fortunate accidents are too delightful not to share. So here it is!
After making a fine batch of German Apple Muffins, I realized that I still had about a thousand apples (since the recipe only calls for 2 and I have 28 pounds). I was also a wee bit tired after the slightly labor intensive muffins and just wanted to throw a whole bunch of apples in something and have something delicious happen to them. Enter the Crockpot.
I chopped up some apples and threw them in the Crockpot with every intention of making only applesauce. Having never made applesauce in a Crockpot, I did my normal thing and covered the apples with water, switched the thing on low, and put myself to bed.
In the morning I awoke to the most amazing smell of cooked apples simmering in the kitchen. But to my surprise, I had added too much water and the apples, while all mushed up, hadn't soaked up all the water.
Not to be defeated, I sifted out the apples and put them in a jar only to be left with a glorious amber liquid that smelled and tasted like apple cider! I put that in it's own little container and patted myself on the back for accidentally making two awesome things at once.
So if you too would like to be so wondrous and really get the most out of your apples, try out the recipe below. Sorry for the lack of pictures, it wasn't the most amazing-looking process and much of it was done early in the morning when my photographer had already gone to work ;-)
As many apples as you can fit in your Crockpot rinsed and diced
*I prefer to leave the skins on because it adds flavor, color, and nutrients, but do whatever you want.
1 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Your preferred amount of Nutmeg and/or Cinnamon
I actually seasoned this with the leftover apple seasoning from my German Apple Muffins and drizzled on about 2 Tbsps, but just season to your liking. I also don't like cinnamon (yes, I know, this is totally weird, but I just can't stomach it), so feel free to add however much you want based on your desired level of cinnamon-ness.
Chop up your apples and put 'em in the Crockpot. Now season as you like. Again, I used the leftover apple seasoning from the German Apple Muffins and it was pretty much the bees knees (there is a reason I named this blog that... because I say it all the time).
Pour in water until your apples bob and you can see the water line (this will be different depending on the volume of your slow cooker). Now, turn it on low, pop the lid on, and let those babies do their thing for the next 10 hrs. I did this overnight, but if you do make sure you have time in the morning to finish the process.
After 10 hrs has passed, use a wire mesh strainer to fish our you applesauce and put them in a glass jar. Pour the remaining juice through the strainer into a bowl to catch the leftover apple bits and then transfer the juice into a glass jar or bottle (depending on the size of the crockpot, you might need a few containers).
Last step, I promise. Now (or better yet while your straining) fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Pop your jars of applesauce and cider in the boiling water with lids on and boil for 20 mins. This seals your jars, but it's still best to store this stuff in the fridge and eat it within a week or so.
If you want the extra step of sterilizing your jars, this site can help. I simply didn't care to.
The applesauce is great cold, hot, or mixed in with oatmeal!