I LOVE apple butter. The creamy texture, the way it tastes on my home made cinnamon raisin bread, I just love it! So today is apple butter day in my home!
I use almost every part of the apple. Many recipes that I have found say that they core and peel the apple, others say that they use the core and the peel but then run them through a sieve. I core the apples, but use the peels in my recipe.
I hear the collective gasp! But no one used the actual peel! My grandmother never made it with the peel!
Why? I didn’t know either, so I went looking. My thinking was that the peel has lots of pectin in it, it is probably filled with all kinds of good stuff (like eating the skin of a potato) that we needed! Not one to buck the tried and true, however, I wanted to know why it wasn’t used.
The two answers I got most often were: It doesn’t mash well so there are chunks left in the butter; and the peels have wax on them.
Well, I have a really good blender so I have no worries about chunks of the peel left in my butter, but the other gave me pause. Until I found this http://tinyurl.com/kz4m9ah, and TA DA!!! No more wax!
So here is my apple butter recipe. It usually takes all day for it to cook and then jar, but it is worth it!
You will need:
1. 10 lbs of apples. I use 5 pounds of Red delicious, 2.5 pounds of Honey Crisp and 2.5 pounds of Granny Smith. I like the sweet and tart mix, but feel free to experiment on your own mixes!
2. 2 cups of sugar. Many of the recipes I found during my search (including old family one’s) called for 4 cups or more of sugar, and if you like really really really sweet apple butter then go for it! I have found that for my tastes 2 cups does just enough sweetening and the apples do the rest.
3. 1/2 tsp of Cloves
4. 1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
*A couple of side notes: I like to use Splenda when ever I can in my cooking, but I found that when canning the flavor becomes bitter if I don’t use sugar. Also, the cinnamon and cloves are beginning amounts, and I sometimes adjust them as I am going along depending on my tastes. Have fun! Make this your recipe! Adjust it to YOUR taste.
Okay, now for the fun part! I have a 6 quart slow cooker and 10 lbs of apples, so this is a process!
Core the apples and then cut them into small chunks. Throw them in the slow cooker. When it is full pour the sugar, cinnamon, and cloves over top and mix REALLY well. Cover and cook on high.
Keep an eye on them because as they cook down you’ll be adding more apples. I usually check on my slow cooker about every 30 minutes.
Once all of the apples are in leave it on high for another hour and then turn down to low to cook for another 8 hours or so.
Now, I have been told to leave it alone for all 8 hours, but I am not a patient person so I go back to stir it, taste it, and smell it whenever the mood strikes me. 🙂 I’m breaking all the rules here!
After 6 hours I run it through the blender to make it smooth and creamy. Remember the peels I was telling you about? Gone, gone. All blended up, and the texture is more like baby food than apple sauce, which is exactly the way I want it. Put it back in the slow cooker for another hour. They are ready to can after that!
If you are gone all day, or (like me) you need to wait on someone to help you with the canning, then leave the apple butter in the slow cooker on low or warm, it isn’t going to hurt it.
Can it up and keep it some place cool and dark until you are ready to eat it!
Oh, let me know if you have any questions!