Homemade Apple Butter
UPDATE 10/7/2011: I was THRILLED to see the CSI Project challenge theme for the week “Fall Food”! How amazing is that?! Click here to see all of the delicious challenge entries! Uhh-mazing! A simple Apple Butter recipe like this certainly fits the theme, so I’m entering this recipe/post! You have no idea how much I wish I were getting loads of apples from my parents this year… not a good year for their apple tree!
Each time I have seen my mom over the past few weeks I have asked her to bring me a few more bags of apples from our tree at home. This year those apples are delicious, tart and sweet at the same time, the best apples you can imagine. My parents lone apple tree produces tons of wonderful apples like this every other year. When I was younger there were two apples trees and each year they produced apples that were just so-so. The other tree was uprooted in a tornado wind storm several years ago and since then the remaining tree has been flourishing during its “on” years. I know it is not uncommon for an apple tree to produce a large crop every other year, but I do find it interesting that the apples seem to be much better now that there is only one tree. Standard agronomic principles tell me that two trees will cross pollinate and should produce a better crop. However, I did read that two trees of the same species will not necessary help each other. If you are trying to maximize apple production and quality you should plant a few trees of different species fairly close together.
Regardless of what causes the apples to be so go, I know I like to eat them and use them in recipes. Right now there are several bags each of apple chunks, sliced apples, chopped apples and shredded apples stocked in my freezer and homemade apple butter in my fridge. If you are reading this and have your own apple tree, keep me in mind next year because I’m not expecting much out of my parents tree and I’ll be on the prowl for more apples.
My recipe for apple butter is very simple. The “hardest” part about it is peeling and cutting the apples. The crock pot does the rest for you! I prefer the apple butter to not be overly sweet or spiced. You may want to adjust the sugar and spices some to meet your preference.
If you don’t like to eat apple butter, you could make some and use it in these Apple Butter Cookies I posted last week OR these Iced Oat-Apple Butter Cookies. Plus there is still one day left to enter to win the $20 Gift Certificate Giveaway by leaving a comment on that post. Click here to find out how to enter!
I used one of our wedding gifts, a kitchen scale, to weigh the apples. Thank you Bethany and Josh! While I’m on the topic, I also want to say how excited I am to be making the cupcake and truffles for Bethany and Josh’s November 13 wedding. I was happy to find out they wanted pumpkin as a cupcake flavor in addition to the standard white and chocolate – how seasonally fitting for their date!
Back to the apple butter, the following picture shows how the apples change throughout the cooking process, from the time you put them in the crock pot in the upper left corner to the time the apple butter is finished in the lower right corner:
- 6 pounds of cut Apple Quarters
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
Place the apples in a crock pot/slow cooker. In a different bowl stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over apples and stir to coat all apples. Cover and cook on high 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 10-12 hours. Stir occasionally during this time (I stirred before bed and when I woke up – that is “occasionally” enough). At the end of this time the mixture should be dark brown and have thickened some. Uncover and continue cooking on low for 2-6 hours (uncovering here is key, so the extra liquid can evaporate). If desired stir with a whisk or immersion blender to smooth out the mixture (I don’t do this because I don’t want it to be completely smooth). Keep cooking until the mixture has thickened considerable and it is no longer runny.
Pour or scoop the mixture into sterile glass containers for canning or plastic containers for refrigeration or freezing.
You can have fun with your apple butter too! Use ribbon and material (I actually used felt) to decorate it. This makes a nice gift… not only is it tasty, but it’s also pretty!