Sunday, November 06, 2011

All Day Apple Butter

Every year, my husband & I go apple picking and every year I try to make something new with our harvest.  This year was Apple Butter.  I wasn't entirely clear on what apple butter was or what I would use it for but I figured I would give a try anyway.  Recently all the magazines and online recipe sites I frequent were all showing their take on this since it is apple season.

The recipe I used called for 5 1/2 lbs of apples, no problem since we probably had 3 times more than that from our excursion.

The hard part is next.  You have to peel, core and finely chop all those apples.  You can use a food processor for the chopping but of course, I couldn't find my slicing blade, so I did it all by hand. 
Once that is all done, place all the apples in a slow cooker along with:

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups white sugar

I know it sounds like a lot of sugar, but, you can cut it depending on the sweetness of the apples.  The first time I made this, I only used 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar.  Since my apples were fresh off the trees I didn't think I would need to add too much to them.  To my surprise, I actually missed the sweetness.  It needed more!  The second time I made this I used 2 cups white sugar and 1 1/4 cups brown sugar and it was much better.  So you will have to just go with your gut on this one!

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for one hour.

Reduce the heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thickened and dark.  I never really let mine go this entire time.  I just kept stirring it and when I felt it was the consistency I wanted, I lowered the heat and let it go that last hour.

Uncover and continue cooking on low for 1 hour.  Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.

Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze.

I jarred mine and froze it to use as homemade Christmas Gifts for my loved ones.  They make excellent gifts and are much more personal than a store bought something or a gift card.  All the time, effort and love (sweat and tears, if I'm being honest),  that went into making this will surely come through when your loved ones open that delicious jar and shmear it on their morning toast.

Oh for those of you, like me, who were wondering what Apple Butter is, it is not butter at all!  It is really like an apple jam.  It tastes like Apple Pie in a jar so it is delicious on toast for breakfast or on a cracker for a midday snack.

And for those of you who feel like this may be too much work for you or you don't have a slow cooker or the time, just make apple pie!