A few weeks ago, Chris and I took the boys and went apple picking at Indian Ladder farms. As a result we got a bushel bag full of apples! C-man and I have been eating apples for weeks. I made and canned applesauce and more. We still have apples left. I hate to waste anything, but I was truly running out of ideas as to what else I could make besides more applesauce that would use up that half bag of apples that have been staring at me from the kitchen counter.
Last week, I had a day off because I actually took off the day after the marathon as I was concerned about how I would feel physically. I actually felt pretty good! So…… I decided to tackle the apples. I had recently seen a post on Food in Jars about making apple butter. There is also a recipe for apple butter in a couple of the cookbooks that I have. Anyway, I went to work. The recipe that I started following was something along the lines of this one from Sherri Brooks Vinton.
3 lbs apples, peeled & cored
2 cups of water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup bottle lemon juice (I used the juice of 1 lemon since I didn’t have any bottled)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
I have an apple peeler, corer, slicer. So! I ran the apples through this and put them in a sturdy pot on the stove. I didn’t measure the weight of the apples, I just kept going until my pot was close to full. I knew this would cook down a lot. The recipe that I used says that it cooks down to about 3 cups of apple butter.
This all gets cooked on the stove for about 30 minutes or so. Until you have something that looks like applesauce. At this point, I used my immersion blender to get rid of any big chunky parts that remain. Blend to your desired consistency. Then keep put it back on the stove and add the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The recipe then said to simmer until the mixture is thickened. Simmer time will vary depending upon the size of the pot but according to the recipe it said it should take about 30-45 minutes and the you should stir frequently to avoid burning.
I wait about an hour. Stirring diligently every 10 minutes or so. Around then it became pretty clear to me that this was nowhere near done. I decided to consult my friend google. I looked up all sorts of apple butter recipes. Several of them did indicate that it may take upwards of 5 hours to cook down on the stove. Forget it! I was happy to keep stirring, but 5 hours seemed a little crazy to me. Then!!!! Low and behold I remember the recommendation that this could be done on a crock pot. I quickly pulled mine out of the cabinet and plugged it in.
Once I transferred everything over, I propped open the lid with some knives. This would allow the steam to continue to escape the pot and speed the evaporation process.
I was finally able to walk away! The butter continued to cook for another 5 hours. It turned to a very thick applesauce like substance. I was able to stand a spoon up in before I was finished. Once it had cooked down, I choose to can it using the water bath method. All of the recipes I found indicated that it should process in the water bath for 15 minutes. It can also be cooled and then stored in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.
We now have a yummy apple spread for our toast in the morning. I also plan to use it in my afternoon snack of greek yogurt for a little extra kick of fall. It was a great way to use up some of the remaining apples I had around and when I processed the apple butter, I did so in small jelly jars so they will also make good gifts for all of the other can savvy folks in my life! Enjoy!! And please if you have a favorite way that you use apple butter, share!