Apple Festivals are a sign that autumn is in the air

Don’t you just love the first morning you walk outside to the crisp air after the long, hot Carolina summer? And who doesn’t love an Apple Festival? I recently went to the North Carolina Apple Festival, which is held annually, over Labor Day weekend, in Hendersonville. I purchased a variety of apples and enjoyed visiting with the diverse vendors. Even though you have missed the North Carolina Apple Festival this year, never fear, there are still several great opportunities to attend an apple festival in the near future. Below you will find a link to North Carolina Apple Festivals:

https://www.pickyourown.org/AppleFestivals-NorthCarolina.php

What to do with your apples?

“An apple a day keep the doctor away” — and eating a nice crisp apple is great, but I like to do something different with them. So how about an apple pie, an apple crisp, maybe some apple cider? Apples are so versatile. One of the easiest things to make is homemade applesauce. The only work involved is some peeling, chopping, and stirring. I provide the recipe below, but I will also share some simple tips and tricks to make it even easier.

The recipe and ingredients

If you have never used Slow Cooker Liners- buy some and try them. Makes clean up a treat!
  • 8 apples (I use all different varieties, for better flavor/maybe 2 of each kind)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Another great time saver-add this to your kitchen tools. Makes peeling apples easy!

Peel/ core apples, slice and put everything in crockpot/slow cooker and mix it up well.

Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring apples once or twice every couple hours.

I like mine chunky, so I just use a hand potato masher. If you like your applesauce smoother, after mashing, use a whisk and smooth it out. If you want really smooth sauce, put in blender, or use hand mixer.

This makes about 3 cups of applesauce and freezes well too.

If you double the recipe, using 16 apples, don’t double the other ingredients. Only use 3-4 teaspoons of brown sugar and use ¾ teaspoon of lemon juice and ¾ teaspoon of cinnamon.

Let the cooker do the rest of the work.

Some tips and tricks

I use an apple slicer to make coring and slicing apples easier. A good friend of mine introduced me to crockpot/slow cooker liners. This is a great tool for any crockpot recipe, because it makes clean up such a breeze. Don’t worry too much about over cooking the applesauce. In fact, sometimes I will make it before I go to bed and just let it cook overnight. It might cook a little longer than 6 hours, but it will just make the apples softer, and easier to mash up.

Different varieties of apples are sweeter, and some are tart. You can change the amount of brown sugar to adjust the sweetness depending on how sweet you like your applesauce and also according to what types of apples you use.

Applesauce can be eaten plain, added to warm oatmeal, and one of my favorite uses is paired with pork loin or chops.

For better applesauce, add a variety of different types of apples
Recipe and photos by Melissa Shoemaker

By, Melissa Shoemaker, “Volunteer”

Melissa spent 30 years in financial services, but now volunteers with Piedmont Animal Rescue (PAR) located at 228 E. Waterlynn Road in Mooresville. PAR’s motto is “Where Animals Come First.” She also enjoys cooking, spending time with friends and family- and of course, her two spoiled dogs, Piglet and Nugget.

Casual Dining

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