Apples ‘n Pears

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Guess what? You don’t need sugar to make excellent – and I mean EXCELLENT – applesauce, pear sauce, or as we’re making today, Apples ‘n Pears. You don’t actually need a recipe at all. Just pick up a few pounds of farm fresh fruit and let’s get started!

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Pippin apples are one of the largest varieties available, and are one of my favorites for chunky, not-too-sweet applesauce. For smoother sauce without a blender, try adding Macintosh and Golden Delicious apples.

Family-owned apple and pear orchards are still plentiful; find one near you and ask if they sell “seconds” or “windfalls.” These not-quite-perfect apples and pears are still perfectly fine for sauce, and are often sold at bargain prices.

I recommend using a 3:1 ratio of apples to pears (3 apples for every 1 pear) for really excellent sauce. I also recommend using several different varieties of apples and pears in the same batch of sauce, for depth of flavor.

Simply peel your fruit and cut it away from the core in rough chunks. (Either compost the cores or save them for pectin or jelly.)  Place your fruit in a Nesco or Crock Pot and add a bit of water. I made a big batch in a Nesco – about 20 pounds of fruit, and I added about 4 cups of water. The water is simply to keep the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the slow cooker; you don’t need to measure, just make sure there’s about an inch of water at the bottom. I also recommend adding 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a Crock Pot (or 1/4 cup of lemon juice to a large Nesco), to keep the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown.

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Then, let it cook. There’s no magic to this. Just cook on “low” (if your slow cooker only has “low” and “high” options), or about 300 degrees if you can set the temperature. Stir occasionally, and add more water as it evaporates or if fruit begins to stick to the bottom. After several hours (depending upon the varieties of apples and pears you chose, as well as how big of a batch you started), the apples and pears will be very soft. At this point, you can mash the fruit with a potato masher for chunky sauce, or puree with an immersion blender for a smooth sauce. If you wish, stir in a bit of cinnamon for added flavor.

If you’re making a big batch, Apples ‘n Pears freezes very well. Also, Apples ‘n Pears is safe for canning. If you’re interested in canning this recipe, you can follow the directions found here and process for 20 minutes.

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