We've been doing more apples. I didn't realize that Trent had cheery-picked the best apples out, put them in boxes in the storage room, and left all the bruised ones in the kitchen. It hasn't been cold enough yet to really keep them well, so... more applesauce and apple butter! The kids (and their parents) have loved both. For breakfast, I had whole-wheat pancakes with apple butter (and whipped cream, but that may cancel the otherwise healthiness. Maybe?).
I've been asked for the recipes, so here you go, compliments of my lovely sisters-in-law Heidi and Julie. We have made some modifications, so I'll just write out what we did. Thanks, ladies!
Crock Pot Apple Butter
5 1/2 pounds apples (mixing different kinds makes yummier sauce, but use whatever you have),
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and nutmeg (which I totally would have used except I didn't have any so I put in a few dashes of ginger and allspice instead)
Cut the apples into halves or quarters. I didn't peel or core the apples, just cut out the bad parts. If you don't measure - like us - just fill up a 6 quart crockpot enough to still fit the lid on snugly. Dump the sugar and spices over the apples in the crockpot and mix it up a bit.
Place the lid, turn it on low, and walk away. I think we cooked the aromatic mess for 5-6 hours, until it is soft. Take off the lid and continue cooking until it is the thickness you like (ours was another hour).
If it is too hot to handle, let it cool a bit, then run it through a Victorio strainer (you can skip this part if you peeled and cored the apples first - then you'd just have to use a blending stick or potato masher a bit, depending on how smooth you like it). What comes out is delicious apple butter! Ladle into hot jars and process like any other kind of jam.
Eat on pancakes, toast, biscuits, granola, or ice cream.
Crock Pot Applesauce
10 large cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
Fresh juice of one orange
Put all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours, or on high 4-5 hours. Blend.
Again, we didn't peel or core because we the boys like to crank the strainer more than I like to peel, and I'm not sure we cooked it that long on low. But it smells great, and it makes my mouth happy.
Happy crockery cooking!