Homemade applesauce is way more delicious than anything out of a jar, and the perk is you can eat it warm—when my family likes it best—and jar any leftovers. Making it from scratch allows you to keep it as chunky as you prefer, or puree it completely. I add pear for juice and sweetness, and just a bit of lemon and cinnamon. The trick is to not overcomplicate it with too many spices and overpower that fresh-picked apple taste. We always double and sometimes triple this batch and make extra to share with friends. Any home with a new baby or someone who is healing will appreciate this nurturing homemade simple treat.
Toss together the apples, pears, 1/4 cup water, maple syrup and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a large pot with a heavy bottom (a Dutch oven works great for this). Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat, until the fruit are very tender, about 45 minutes or up to 1 hour. Stir in the lemon juice and use a potato masher to smash to your desired consistency. If you like a completely smooth, pureed sauce, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Taste and add additional cinnamon to your liking.
Serve warm, or cool completely and store in sterile jars with tight-fitting lids up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
To make in a slow cooker, grease the insert with soft butter. Stir everything together and cook on low until super tender, 5 to 6 hours. Stir in the lemon juice at the end.