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criss cross applesauce

People always act like it’s so great when one parent is at home with the kids. But listen, it depends on the parent. I have friends who stay home with their kids and are always posting pics of them doing fun crafty activities. If I stayed home with my kids, they’d end up watching TV like 12 hours a day and eating mountains of Hot Pockets.

But I still have to amuse them on weekends. And when it’s rainy outside, as it often is in Portland, it can get really ugly. That’s why I like to cook with them. They fight over who gets to stir and who gets to lick the spoon, but better that than them “playing ninja,” which as far as I can tell, involves Tate kicking Finn, and Finn putting Tate into a retaliatory headlock.

The thing about cooking, of course, is that it always seems to take so long when you need it to go quickly, and to go so quickly when you need it to go slow. When I bake with the boys, I’m so desperate to prevent flour from flying all over my kitchen that I end up speeding through it. And then I’ve burned no time off the clock at all.

That’s why I’m so glad that Finn is old enough to cut with a knife. Cutting stuff takes a long time. Even better, Finn loves nothing more than cutting things with a knife, and would do it for hours if I let him. A block of tofu can eat up fifteen minutes, if you plan it right and make a math game out of it. A bowl of strawberries—maybe 30 minutes (you have to cut off the tops, and then halve the berries).

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But tofu and strawberries is kids’ stuff compared to cutting apples for homemade applesauce. First of all, apples have a nice, satisfying consistency for cutting. They aren’t too hard, like carrots, or too wet, like citrus. Secondly, you need a shitload of apples for applesauce. I cored and sliced the apples and passed them to Finn, who cut each slice into thirds and then tossed them into the slow cooker. It took him 45 minutes to fill the slow cooker.

He did eat enough apples during the cutting process that he blew chunks at a Blazers game later that night, but I don’t like to think about that. Instead, I choose to think about this: 45 minutes is two episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. And at the end of it, we had jars of rich, sweet applesauce, made without an ounce of added sugar. Sometimes I have this parenting thing so dialed that I think that I should have had ten kids.

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Slow cooker applesauce

Apples (how many is going to depend on the size of your slow cooker). Mine’s a 7 quart and I used 8-10 large honeycrisps

Juice of one large lemon

1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches is good), optional

Ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger to taste

1. Core and divide each unpeeled apple into six or eight slices. An aside: is there any kitchen task worse than peeling apples?  No, there is not.  Have your kid lay each slice flat on his cutting board and cut it into thirds. Toss the apples into the slow cooker.

2. Add lemon juice and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 hours, or until soft enough to mash.

3. Remove cinnamon stick. Mash the apples, or blitz them for smoother texture. Stir in ground spices to taste. I used about a teaspoon of cinnamon and a half teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

4. Store in fridge up to a week, or give it away in jars. Or pack for your kid’s lunch with a container of greek yogurt and another container of granola.

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Unpeeled! Brilliant! I think I shall make some today (my kids would live on applesauce alone if I let them).

    February 11, 2013
  2. What a great ideal. I am a new stay at home grandmother of a 10 and 1 year old. Peeling apples would be time consuming for the older one picking up the peels for the younger. I’m going to try this one out. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again for the recipe.

    January 31, 2013
  3. As a woman who in the company of her husband and grown daughter devoured an entire season of Homeland due to a free weekend cable promotion (12 hour long episodes, thanks)… I believe I will simply say that I am convinced making applesauce with Mom is a lot better bonding opportunity than, say, sussing out the finer points of Stockholm Syndrome or the best ways to shake a follow car. Though I typically choose more economical Granny Smiths for our homemade sauce. Pricey Honeycrisps we slice to eat out of hand.

    January 14, 2013
    • homeland!! tom has been bugging me to watch the show with him from the beginning. i need to get on that.

      January 22, 2013
  4. gulgun #

    Great idea, Yoona. We tried it last night and everyone had a great time!

    January 13, 2013
    • Gulgun you know I love me a testimonial. Thanks for giving it a go!

      January 13, 2013
  5. I think you know my husband is a stay-at-home Dad and I so know what you mean about “it depends on the parent.” Had I been the one to stay home, my children would have alternated between going unshowered for days and turning into zombies in front of the TV, with cowering in the corner of the bathroom with scrub brush in hand after I suddenly turned into Prison-Warden Mom and screamed at everybody to CLEAN SOMETHING! Fortunately, my husband convinced me to stay at the office, where I belong.

    January 12, 2013
    • yes yes, exactly. now i have an xbox so they’d end up gamers for sure

      January 12, 2013
  6. Time-consuming and productive tasks for the little ones are the best. Deadlines and quality be gone!
    What did Tate do while Finn was being so productive?

    January 11, 2013
    • Tate played Legos by himself. God bless second children

      January 12, 2013
      • Ain’t that always the way….

        January 13, 2013
  7. Sarah #

    That’s like $80 worth of apples in Honeycrisp speak.

    January 11, 2013
    • i got these free but yes good point. i consider honeycrisps to be the great marketing success of the oughts. my friend Suzanne says jonagolds taste the same, and are much cheaper

      January 11, 2013
  8. Courtney #

    love your posts. sometimes totally useful – like this one. always funny.

    January 11, 2013
  9. Awesome. Making this next week – I’ll reblog and give you credit!

    January 11, 2013
  10. It’s looks delicious and what a great way to spend time together.

    January 11, 2013
  11. Nice idea for the future for me, thanks Yoona, I’m doing my best to avoid mega tv sessions

    January 11, 2013

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  1. Slow Cooker Applesauce | Feed Your Head

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