Chai applesauce is easily made in the slow cooker and it’s super delicious using Cortland apples from Crossroad Orchards in Miamisburg. Crossroad Orchards’ family farm dates back to 1894; when the farm was purchased, consisting of an orchard with about 50 apple trees on the property. The current orchard has about 2000 trees and the fifth generation of family members now works on that same farm!
The original apple trees have been replaced with semi-dwarf trees. A standard apple tree grows to about 25 feet tall, making maintenance and harvesting difficult, and requiring a 45 foot square of land for each tree. These standard trees also require about ten years of growth before producing a market crop. These trees are only half as tall as standard trees, and cam be planted in closer proximity, making them easier to maintain and harvest, and allowing for more efficient use of fungicides. There are currently about 30 different varieties of apples growing in the Crossroad Orchards.
When treating the trees is a necessity, Crossroad nonetheless stops any and all spraying in mid-April to minimize any residue on the apples. No chemicals are used that will work themselves into the tree itself. Further, Crossroad has their own apple washer, and all apples are sorted by hand.
Cortland, Honey Crisp, Gala, and McIntosh apples are currently available, depending upon personal preferences and your plans for the apples (Eating in-hand? Pies? Applesauce?). Other varieties will soon be coming ready for harvest. You can keep track of what varieties are available by checking out the Crossroad Orchard Facebook page.
Here is a tasty recipe for chai applesauce. You can buy bushels of ‘seconds’ (apples which are smaller in size) at Crossroads at a lower price, and these are perfect for applesauce. The author used Cortland ‘seconds’ for this recipe.
Chai applesauce in the slow cooker
- 1/2 cup apple cider, apple juice OR water
- 2 lbs apples (about 8 medium apples), peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 11/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- a dash of ground cloves
- a dash ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put everything in the slow cooker and toss the apples gently to distribute the sugar and spices. Cook on low for 7 or 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours until apples are tender. Let cool somewhat and then blend in the blender until the desired consistency is reached. Applesauce must be kept in the refrigerator, and it may be canned in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes or frozen for longer storage.