- 4 lbs. (approx. 10-11) naturally sweet apples (try any combination of Fuji, Honey Crisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady), cored & sliced, peel left on
- ½ c (for stove top) or 1/4 cup (for slow cooker) unsweetened apple cider; substitute thawed apple juice concentrate for a sweeter applesauce
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
STOVE TOP: Add apple slices, cider (or apple juice concentrate), lemon juice, and pumpkin pie spice to large pan. Bring liquid in bottom of pan to a boil over medium high heat, lower heat to medium, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until apples and skin are soft.
SLOW COOKER: Add ingredients, cover, and cook 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low, until apples and skin are soft. (Note: Slow cookers can vary; cooking times are approximate.)
BLEND IT: Use an immersion blender (or blender or food processor) to blend the cooked apples into a sauce consistency with whatever texture you prefer--smooth or chunky. (The skin should blend in easily; if not, return to stove or slow cooker and continue cooking until softened enough to blend.)
STORE IT: Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 year. Use water process canning to store it at room temperature for up to 1 year.
FOR WATER PROCESS CANNING: Add hot applesauce to hot sterilized jars leaving ½" of headspace, and water process in water canner 15 minutes for pints & half pints, 20 minutes for quarts. Turn off heat, and leave jars in hot water for 5 minutes. Remove from canner and let rest undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Store jars in dark, cool place for up to 1 year.
For canning safety:
--Follow jar preparation and processing recommended by the USDA; see canning safety guidelines at http://www.freshpreserving.com
For general canning tips, go to www.theyummylife.com/canning_tips