Nearly every site with an apple butter recipe advocates the use of a slow cooker. This was my first time making it so I thought I’d use a more hands-on method. I wanted to be involved in the process…So I cooked it on my stove top.
This was my first time trying apple butter. It is fantastic! It has a deep, rich brown colour, it’s silky, and it melted in my mouth. To me, it seemed to have a perfect amount of sweetness and spice. I don’t think I’ve ever produced something so vintage and wholesome. I think it would be hard to mess up apple butter; it practically makes itself. For little effort put in, I ended up with something that made me so excited and proud. Yes, I know that may come off a tad pathetic.
But hey, I had a lot of apples to use up…
The best part of this experience was the aroma. My house smelled amazing for the whole day!
I can imagine doing all kinds of things with this. Like spreading it on biscuits, pancakes, or muffins. Using it as a punchy layer in squares. Using it to flavour lamb or chicken dishes. It would also be great for gifting. That way you can brag a little.
Any apples will do really. I used several varieties. You will use a tonne of apples to produce an ounce of apple butter. Ok, so I exaggerate a bit. Also, it takes a very long time. With a slow cooker you can throw everything in and walk away. Many have made this overnight as they sleep. If you go the stove top route, you will have to clear your schedule for a day. But it’s so worth it!
5 lbs apples, peeled and cored (like a medium size pot full)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup water
Put chopped apples and water in a pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Eventually this produces apple sauce. Once it looks like apple sauce reduce heat as low as it goes. Add in spices, sugar, and salt and give it a good stir.
Close with a lid. Stir occasionally (like every hour) until it looks like it’s reduced by half. You should keep a watch and stir more frequently if it gets a bit sticky- to prevent burning. It will be very brown and thick by this time (this will take aprox 8 hours or so to get to this point).
When you reach that point, remove lid and keep stirring frequently for another hour or 2 (I checked mine every 15-20 minutes), until it’s closer to a paste consistency. Then it is done. Turn off the heat. It’s not necessary, but I chose to blend mine smooth with a wand blender. Keep your apple butter hot by placing the lid back on and start preparing your jars.
In a canning pot sterilize your jars and lids. Sterilize the jars for 5 minutes, and lids for 2 minutes only. Remove lids and put aside. Keep jars inside pot to keep hot. Now, one by one take each jar out and fill to ¼ “ of the top with hot apple butter. * take care not to get apple butter on rim of jar. If you do, wipe it off with clean moist paper towel. Place lid on and screw on rings tightly. After they are all filled, place back in boiling water (that is at least 1” above the jars) to process for 10 minutes (double that time if you are at high altitude). Gently remove cans onto a towel (at least 2 inches apart). Be careful not to bump them and allow to cool for several hours.
If you have never canned before you may be surprised to hear loud pops coming from your jars during cooling. Don’t run for cover. It’s just the vacuum seal process happening in the jar. And it’s a good thing.
Test each jar for a proper seal by pushing finger into center of lid. If it moves up and down, it’s not sealed. You can reprocess it or you can refrigerate and use up within a week. For jars that have a proper seal, you can store in a cool dry place and use up within a year. My apple butter yielded six 125ml jars (the little wee ones).