No-Sugar Applesauce With A Slow Cooker:
We have dozen’s of heirloom apple trees on our property, so I am often asked how best to preserve large amounts of apples at once. Well, aside from juicing/freezing and dehydrating, I like to “put up” two staples in my pantry:
- Homemade Apple Pie Filling (follow link)
- Slow Cooker Applesauce (stay right here)
There is something very special about opening your pantry during the cold winter months and pulling out a jar filled with fall apples, cinnamon and whole lot of flavor! This slow cooker applesauce is so easy to make.
- Let the slow cooker do all the work.
- Cook it slow (overnight) or fast (in a few hours)
- Use any apples you want.
- Skip the sugar (Tart apples? Throw in a few sweet apples to counter it).
- Add cinnamon, allspice and other spices as you like.
- Peel or leave the skin on – Your choice!
To see how simple it is, just watch our 2 minute HD video above.
If you want to share this video, go to our YouTube version of No Sugar Crockpot Applesauce. The printable recipe is below.
Yield: I use 1/2-pint canning jars for this recipe. But the processing time is for 1/2-pints or pints. Your choice. The number of jars you yield depends upon how many apples you use. That’s the beauty of this recipe. You can make a little or a lot depending upon the number of apples you have on hand. However, I suggest you always use a minimum of 6-7 large apples so you can get at least a couple of full jars from your efforts. Keep in mind that whatever volume of apples you start with, will be reduced down by about 60%. The resulting flavor is concentrated and delicious!
- 1-2 lemons
- Bowl of water
- Assorted apples (I use 10 in the video)
- 1 – 4 tsp. of ground cinnamon (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice (or more to taste)
1) To a large bowl of water, add the juice of 1-2 lemons.
2) Peel apples (optional). Core and quarter them. If you are leaving the skins on, roughly chop them so the skin pieces will be small. As you cut up the apples, add them to the lemon water to prevent browning.
3) Drain the apples and place them in the slow cooker. Add your spices. Remember you can always add more spice after it is cooked, but you cannot take it out. Go slowly and adjust to taste just before filling your jars.
4) Turn the slow cooker on to high for 4 hours or to low for overnight. Stir well when finished cooking.
5) When you are ready to process the applesauce, fill your water bath canner and bring to a boil. You can warm your clean 1/2-pint or pint canning jars by placing them in the water bath. Heat the lids in a pan of water. (Go to: water bath basics for more info.)
6) Meanwhile, transfer the cooked down applesauce to a medium-sized saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a boil.
7) Fill the canning jars, leaving a 3/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth and add lids and rings to finger tight.
8) Place jars in the water bath canner and process for 15 minutes. Remove lid, turn off heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes before removing to a wooden board to cool.
9) After they are completely cooled, any unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 5 days. Sealed jars can be stored on the pantry shelf and are best used within 6 months. After that time, they begin to darken considerably.
Color: Because there is no sugar in this recipe, the applesauce will be dark. It will continue to darken slowly over time, but is still safe to eat as long as you have a good vacuum seal.
Stovetop Version: Most applesauce recipes require at least a splash of liquid to prevent burning. But because this is done in a slow cooker, no liquid is necessary. It won’t burn. However, if you wish to cook this in a pot on the stove, you need to add 1/3 cup of apple juice or water to prevent scorching. Cook on low until soft (25-35 minutes) and then mash the apples with a potato masher before adding to the jars.
Freezing: No time to can? Make the recipe up to step 4. But instead of reheating and canning it, simply fill freezer safe containers and pop it into the freezer. Leave lots of room for expansion. (At least an inch for freezer-safe canning jars). Label and use within 6 months for best results.
Chloe Harrison says
The recipe is great, I will use it for making some baked goodies 🙂
Do I have to use the lemon juice? Does it help with preservation or just to stop apples from browning? Thank you
Theresa Loe says
In this recipe, the lemon juice helps prevent browning and it is there for flavor. (Lemon helps brighten the flavor of the apples.)
Keep in mind that because the apples are pureed, there is a lot of surface area that can oxidize. And it does. The applesauce will discolor quickly. Without the lemon juice, it happens even faster.
Can you do the same thing with pears, peaches, and nectarines?
Theresa Loe says
I cooked my apples for at least an hour on the stove. They boiled at first, then simmered, but I’m not sure I got to the rolling boil that sticks around through stirring. I guess I forgot because I’d burned my first batch and was being careful. I then processed the applesauce for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. Will they be safe to keep or should I reprocess them?
Theresa Loe says
They should be safe.
Karen L says
You can do sugar free applesauce by using a variety of apples (I use at east 12 of them), cut into chunks, and then I stead of using water & lemon, pour in 100% apple juice as the liquid (I use 1-2 cups). Cook together in the crock pot for 4 hours on high, lightly mash with potato masher, THEN add cinnamon & nutmeg.
I sometimes throw in 2tbsp organic sugar, stirring it well, if I decide to add a tiny bit of sweetness.
Arthur in the Garden! says