He lived in the middle of nowhere, in a town where the closest McDonalds was 45 minutes away (seriously, that's what qualifies as middle of nowhere), on enough land that has family maintained a small farm for their own goods.
I, on the other hand, have lived within 10 minutes of at least three McDonalds my whole life.
I couldn't tell you the first time I was on an actual farm and my apple pies usually consisted of the drive-thru McDonalds variety (don't lie, they WERE delicious) and my applesauce from good ole-fashioned Motts.
To be honest, I didn't understand why on Earth someone would want to make their own applesauce. It seemed like an awful lot of work to go through cooking the apples, spicing them right and smashing them all up (I picture the grape stomping scene from "I Love Lucy") all by yourself to just have applesauce at the end of it. Now to bake a homemade apple pie, well I would have grown the apples myself.
And then, my slow cooking VeganMofo theme happened and I decided it was time to simplify the whole applesauce making. Thanks to my Crock Pot and my stick blender I'm ready to admit it.
I'm a homemade applesauce conformist.
This recipe is seriously so easy and so much fun to doctor to your own tastes, I have a feeling you'll wonder what took you so long to leave the applesauce on the shelf.
Slow cooker applesauce
8 large apples (if you have to ask yourself if they're large enough, they're probably more medium.), try to ignore the stigma of "eating" vs "cooking" apple here. We're going to throw them in a pot and cook them forever, get wild. I used two honeycrisp, two jonagold, two gala and two fujis.
2 TBS butter (I know, it's weird, it's not normally in "applesauce," but I feel like homemade applesauce should be eaten warm and what better way to enjoy it than with a few pads of butter?)
1/4 cup almond milk (this mixed with the butter allows the apples to not stick and burn anywhere)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice from one lemon
Peel and chop up all the apples into quarter-size pieces. (The smaller you make them the shorter the cooking time).
Slice a lemon in half and squeeze the juice out (be careful not to drop lemon seeds in there!). Quick tip, to get the lemon juice all flowing, before cutting the lemon just roll it on the counter a few times with your hand, applying slight pressure. When it starts to get squishier the juice will come out easier.
Add in your butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Stir around and make sure all the apples are coated. Add brown sugar and cinnamon powder.
Cook on high for three hours, stirring 3-4 times to keep the apples cooking evenly.
Serve with a little brown sugar on top if you've got a sweet tooth like me or for a splash of color and something fun, add some broken cinnamon candies into the sauce and stir. You can keep this stuff in the fridge for two weeks (although it probably won't last that long) or you can freeze it in separate containers to use for baking or just one-time serving needs!
Seriously, if you can peel an apple, you can make homemade applesauce. Trust me.