As I was thinking about what to write for this particular post it occurred to me that apples, for as much as we might take them for granted, are a very important part of our diet! From the very beginning we feed applesauce to our children as they progress toward eating solids foods, we give them apple juice in their sippy cups, and once they have teeth, we feed them sliced apples. As we get older we start to enjoy other delicious foods made with apples…pies, cakes, muffins, crisps, cobblers, breads, tarts, popovers, turnovers, cereals, butter, cider, vinegar, and of course – applesauce! We also can’t forget about the savory dishes that pair apples with things like pork chops or pork loin, stuffing, and salads.
As for cultural influences of the apple…how about the first one we all learn…”A is for Apple”! Or, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. We all relate to “As American as Apple Pie”. Remember The Osmonds singing “One Bad Apple”? How about the depiction from the Bible of Eve eating from the Tree Of The Knowledge of Good And Evil? In those pictures she’s always pictured eating an apple! And I can’t leave out Apple computers, iPads, iPods, and iPhones! I’d be lost without my iPhone and my iPad Pro!
Anyway, my point is that apples are such an integral part of our lives that we sometimes don’t appreciate them for the nutritional powerhouses that they are! They’re high in fiber and vitamin C, low in calories, contain only a trace of sodium, and have no fat or cholesterol.
Interesting Apple Facts:
- They come in all shades of red, yellow, and green.
- There are over 2500 varieties grown in the United States, with apples grown in all 50 states.
- The world’s top apple producers are China, the United States,Turkey, Poland, and Italy.
- In 2005 the average U.S. Consumer ate an estimated 16.9 pounds of fresh market apples.
- A peck of apples weighs 10.5 lbs.
- It takes 36 apples to create one gallon of cider.
- The apple is the state fruit of Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Vermont,Washington, and West Virginia.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- Apples have 5 seed pockets, or carpels. Each pocket contains seeds with the health and vigor of the plant determining the number of seeds per carpel.
Interesting….right? I love learning new things about the foods that I eat and feed my family. I find it especially interesting when I learn cool new things about a food like apples that I, for one, tend to take for granted sometimes! Having said that – this recipe for Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce is so good! Fall is probably my favorite time of year, and if you’ve read some of my recent posts you’ve learned I’m not a huge pumpkin fan…don’t judge…I just prefer other flavors more! So to me fall is epitomized by butternut squash and apples! I love visiting apple orchards, I love eating apples out of hand, and I love, lovE, loVE, lOVE, LOVE, cooking with apples! There’s something extremely comforting about the scent of warm spices mingling with the scent of the apples themselves. Sweet, warm, spicy…the feeling it conjures for me is cozy…and who among us couldn’t do with a little more coziness in our lives?!?
I’ve been making this Sugar-Free Spiced Crockpot Applesauce for as long as I can remember. When my kids were young I used a little less spice, because they preferred it plainer – and certainly adjust the spices to your own personal preference! Now that I’m cooking for just my husband and I, I prefer to add cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to our applesauce! It makes the house smell absolutely heavenly. And I would certainly rather have my home scented naturally by the foods I prepare than by a candle any day! But I haven’t outgrown all my childish ways…my favorite way to eat this applesauce is with a piece of toast slathered in nut butter…preferably homemade cashew butter!
And thanks to the modern marvel that is the crockpot, this applesauce could not be easier! I wash the apples, cut them up, toss them in the crockpot with the spices and a little water, turn it to high for a couple hours….and voila…applesauce! Well – cooked apples anyway! You’ll have to mash the apples a little to actually make the sauce. How much you smoosh is up to you! We like ours a little chunky, so I just use the back of a spoon to mash the cooked apples. A potato masher works wonderfully as well, and if you want perfectly smooth applesauce, I’d opt for using an immersion blender.
Stay tuned…coming up in a few weeks I’ll have another recipe that incorporates some of this applesauce…any reason to make another crockpot full works for me!
- 6 to 8 large Gala apples (or any naturally sweet apple good for cooking)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/3 cup water
- Core and slice apples, then place in crockpot.
- Add lemon juice, spices, and water.
- Stir well to evenly coat apples.
- Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, stirring halfway through, until apples are soft.
- Mash cooked apples with spoon or potato masher until desired consistency is reached.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.