Apple Butter

A few weeks ago we finally got around to making this year's batch of apple butter. Now I'm sworn to secrecy to the actual recipe that we used (heirloom and all) ;-) But I'm more'n happy to share a recipe that we've used in the past (just a note that we actually canned 25 lbs of apples at once this time. Never ever do that. Seriously. Boiling apple sauce shoots like lava out of a volcano...no joke. Just consider yourself warned and repeat after me...small batches...small batches...) We usually try to use either Stayman or Winesap apples, but any cooking apple will work. So first some photos, and then a recipe at the end for you......


Here's our 25 pounds of apples


Peeled (We chopped them into approx. 1-2 inch chunks.
The smaller the chunks, the faster the cooking down goes.)



Here they are, starting to cook down...


Spices and sugar, ready to be added (the exact spices and ratios are the top secret bit here....)


All together in the pot (it's really starting to smell good by now)


Of course, once that's done you'll need to have your water bath canner
already all heated up and ready to go.



All done. Be sure to let the jars sit a few weeks before tasting it...
they'll mellow a bit and taste even better!


Apple Butter
Adapted from the Ball Blue Book
Yield: About 3 pints

Remember to refer back to this post, which details the boiling water canning method a bit more, if you're unfamiliar with the process.

Ingredients:
4 pounds apples (about 16 medium apples)
4 cups sugar (we usually do at least half of this as brown sugar)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
(any other seasonings that take your fancy...like I said, 0urs are top secret... but any of those common-to-pumpkin-pie spices would probably work well. Just remember to go easy. As the butter sits in the jars, aging, the spices will strengthen.)

Wash apples--peel and slice into 1-inch pieces (remove the cores, too). Combine apples and 2 cups water in saucepan (we usually just dump the apples in, no water. It gives the butter a slightly more concentrated taste without having to cook for quite as long). Simmer until apples are soft. Puree, if desired (we use a potato masher, as necessary. Just to get the big lumps out. If you cook them long enough, they'll be soft enough to do this--but feel free to use a food mill if you like.) Add sugar and spices to cooked apples, stirring in. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon--stir frequently to prevent sticking (and burning). Ladle hotmixture into pint jars (leave 1/4 inch head space). Clean jar rims, and afix lids and rings. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

2 comments:

    I love apple butter, and I'll have my canner out this weekend for applesauce and likely the pressure canner will handle some butternut squash (after I recheck that its safe to can those). Some of those apples will surely be redirected to apple butter. Question for you though: Do the apples stick when you first put them in to cook if you don't have any water? I hate waiting for the water to cook out especially when the apples give off their own liquid, but I'm worried about sticking (and then having the agony of cleaning the pot!)

     

    Mmm. I wish we'd done some as applesauce so that we could re-purpose it later--now that's smart! You know, the apples without water really don't stick much. I think the trick is to start out with lower heat---then by the time they really start cooking, a lot of the mess is just apple juice/sauce, so won't stick too much.

     
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