Kid-Approved Crockpot Applesauce
As a teacher and a Culinary Nutrition Expert, I love to infuse cooking and healthy eating into my classroom activities as often as I can. Luckily for me, the kids are usually psyched about cooking in the classroom and I have found that they are more likely to eat and enjoy the food when they’ve had a hand in creating it! I also have an “everyone takes one bite” policy when it comes to fruits and vegetables: every child takes a bite and if they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it, but I feel that it’s important that they try it. It’s worked really well for me so far and it doesn’t hurt that I’m super enthusiastic about fruits and veggies, too!
Fall is the perfect time to dive into applesauce since apples are in abundance! I usually ask each child to contribute one apple of any variety for this project. A variety of apples guarantees that it never tastes exactly the same, but it’s always delicious. We also do an apple tasting this time of year. I save one Golden Delicious, one Granny Smith, and one red variety from the donated apples for everyone to try. This activity is always a huge hit!
When I started teaching (12 years ago), I was making a crockpot applesauce recipe that included about 3 cups of sugar (eek!) and while it tasted good, I knew that it wasn’t healthy at all. About 6 years ago, I was inspired to seek out a recipe that omitted the extra sugar. To be honest, I can’t even credit the source of this inspiration because I can’t remember, but I have modified it to this over the years and it’s always worked out really well for me.
Here is the super easy, “set-it-and-forget-it” recipe for crockpot applesauce. I hope you will give this a try at home, and please let me know how it goes! It tastes great warm or cold and you can freeze it if you make too much (never a problem with a class of 23 students!). It’s perfect to pack for a snack in your lunchboxes or to eat alongside your favorite meals.
16-18 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
½ c water
1 tsp cinnamon
Add apple chunks to your crockpot. Add ½ cup water and 1 tsp cinnamon. Cover, set crockpot to high, and cook for 3-4 hours. Stir or mash if desired, and turn off heat. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
TIP: If you need to leave it cooking for longer because you aren’t around, just set it on low and leave it for about 5 hours.
TIP: I like it chunkier so I don’t mash it, but if you want it to be more like the traditional variety, use a potato masher to break it down to a smooth, saucy consistency.