Even though I really hate it when summer ends, I always look forward to the fall harvest. This year I got over 35 pounds of apples on an afternoons journey to a few organic farms.
That’s a lot of apple pie! But wait. Let’s not forget about apple butter! You know, the kind that grandma always made.
When I was little I can remember I would loads gobs of apple butter on a slice of homemade bread fresh out of the oven. Just one bite of this special treat and my toes would curl instantly!
Now the best apple butter is made with natural sweeteners and no applesauce. Secondly, great apple butter is cooked on low heat for a long time.
However, you can use a crock pot or slow cooker if you’re pressed for time. All you need to do is slow cook the apples overnight and your apple butter will be ready to can in the morning. Some people say they can’t tell the difference between the stove method and using a crock pot. But personally I have very sensitive taste buds and apple butter slow cooked on the stove is by far better. It gives the apples a chance to delicately meld with aromatic spices like cinnamon.
I say, the darker the apple butter, the better. The rich color comes with slow cooking and the merging of the cinnamon.
Enjoy apple butter any time of day; with fresh homemade bread and your morning cup of tea or java, as an afternoon snack or a midnight craving for something spicy and sweet.
Apples: If you opt out on the sweetener then make sure to use sweeter apples. Regardless, the best type of apples to use include Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Sweet Sixteen, Granny Smith or most any other type of apples except Red Delicious.
Note: If you desire smooth apple butter then peel the apples. You can also puree the apples before you start cooking them. If you enjoy a little texture then leave the peels on and save time. As well, the peel has more natural pectin and will make a much thicker batch.
If you have apples left over try Incredibly Delicious & Easy to Make Apple Turnovers!
- 11-12 large organic apples (about 3 pounds), cored, peeled (optional), diced
- 1 cup maple syrup, coconut sugar or honey; to taste (optional)
- 1 cup apple cider, apple juice or filtered water
- 1 1/2 -3 teaspoons cinnamon, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground all spice, optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
- Core and slice apples, place the slices into a large pot (or crockpot) as you go. Stop adding the apple slices when the pot is full.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent burning
- Slowly cook the apples and add more liquid when needed. Cook on low heat at least 4 hours and up to 10 hours. Remember, the longer it cooks the better the taste. Also, don’t forget to taste test your apple butter and adjust it to your liking
- If you decide to use a crock pot, place all ingredients in the pot. Turn slow cooker to low and cook all day or all night (10 or more hours)
- In the meantime, prepare your canning supplies by sterilizing in hot water.
- Fill the jars with apple butter leaving around 1/2 inch of space from the top
- Place the lids on the jar and tighten
- To ensure a good seal, place the sealed jars in boiling water for around 15 minutes. Afterwards, test each jar once they cool off to make sure they have a good seal. Refrigerate any jar that has not sealed completely. These jars will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
- Store the properly sealed jars in a cool place like the basement. If sealed well, the apple butter can last up to two years
- If unsure about canning but you would like to try (it really is easy), look up waterbath canning for detailed instructions.
Making Life Simpler with an Apple Corer
Organic Spices and Honey
Jars of apple butter: timsackton via photopin cc
Apples in glass bowl: ohmeaghan via photopin cc
Apple butter in jar and on spoon: stetted via photopin cc
Apple butter and toast on green plate: Back to the Cutting Board via photopin cc
Apple butter and muffin on white plate: Joelk75 via photopin cc
Apple butter in nice glass jars: Mzuriana via photopin cc
Funnel for canning apple butter: morgraene via photopin cc