Made From Scratch: Slow Cooker Maple-Bourbon Applesauce

Take a lot of apples, add in a little maple syrup and a shot of bourbon, and with the help of your slow cooker, you'll make some really delicious applesauce.

Slow Cooker Maple-Bourbon Applesauce || A Less Processed Life

One of my favorite fall activities is hitting up one of our local apple orchards and picking a peck of apples. This year we had the foresight to visit our favorite orchard on a weekday afternoon, which meant we weren't tripping over crowds of other people, or, perhaps more importantly, have to wait in long lines to get tasty apple treats.

Slow Cooker Maple-Bourbon Applesauce || A Less Processed Life

Because, okay, yes, I'm there for picking apples ... but I'm also there (okay, maybe mostly there??) for the delicious freshly-baked apple treats, including apple cider donuts (a must!). This year we started our apple orchard visit with some sweet sustenance – I had a slice of caramel apple pie and hot apple cider while Dustin enjoyed an apple dumpling and hot coffee. Fully satiated, we grabbed a bag for our apples.

Slow Cooker Maple-Bourbon Applesauce || A Less Processed Life

This year we picked a peck of cortland apples, which have a sweet and slightly tart flavor – perfect for applesauce. Once back at home, I made a couple different batches of slow cooker applesauce. Each of the batches produced about 2 1/2 pints of applesauce. Instead of canning, I opted to freeze the applesauce I made. It should keep in the freezer for up to three months. Though theoretically you can use glass canning jars in the freezer, I've had bad luck with breakage in the past, so I've been using these plastic freezer jars from Ball instead.

Slow Cooker Maple-Bourbon Applesauce
makes just over 2 pints

4-5 pounds apples, any variety
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon bourbon
pinch fine sea salt
3 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks

1. Wash the apples. Core, peel, and slice each apple. (I love my handy dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer machine.)
2. Place the sliced apples into the bowl of a slow cooker.
3. Pour in the cider, lemon juice, maple syrup, and bourbon. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Add in the cinnamon sticks. (I like to bury them in the apples.)
4. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.
5. Use an immersion blender to puree the applesauce to a smoother texture if you prefer. Spoon the applesauce into freezer-safe containers. Let the sauce cool slightly before placing the lids on each container and placing them in the freezer. Applesauce can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.

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