If there’s one thing I love in the fall and winter, it’s apple butter. I love having it on toast (or muffins, or quick breads, or oatmeal, or biscuits, or pancakes, etc.) for breakfast. It epitomizes the taste of fall for me. And it’s really yummy.
But if there’s one thing that takes quite a long time to make, it’s apple butter. It’s not the peeling, coring, and chopping of the apples that’s so time consuming. It’s the standing over the pot and stirring it almost constantly so it doesn’t burn that takes up so much time.
This is why I can’t wait to get a crock pot/slow cooker when I get back to the States. It makes making apple butter a breeze. No standing over a pot for hours on end necessary. Just get it mixed and blended, leave it in the slow cooker all day, and bam! Apple butter. Brilliant.
I couldn’t resist making a batch of apple butter before we move out of our apartment though, so a few days ago I cooked some up. It so perfect and wonderful for breakfast on a crisp fall morning!
I used about six large apples (Japanese apples are huge), so you might want to use 8 apples if using American apples. Make sure they’re the sweetest apples you can get. I like Fuji apples, but Gala are also nice and sweet.
When the apples are soft, reduce to a simmer and add 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ground clove, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, a dash of salt, and 1/3 c. sugar.
[update: I've since tried this with unsweetened apple sauce, and it's not nearly as sweet as fresh, sweet apples, so I ended up having to add quite a bit more sugar. If you use apple sauce, once you've blended the apple butter, add sugar until it's the sweetness you want.]
Using a potato masher (or an immersion blender if you’re blessed with having one) mash up the apples until they look something like this. This step isn’t absolutely necessary if you’re going to blend it all in a blender or food processor (next step), but this usually makes things a little easier on my blender. Once somewhat mashed up, blend it all in a blender or food processor, and either put it in your slow cooker (if you have one) or return it to the pot.
Blurry shot! Ah! At this point, if you’re using a slow cooker, turn it to low heat, cover it, and let it do it’s thing all day or all night, and after about 10 – 12 hours (guessing here) you’ll have lovely apple butter ready to be put into jars or eaten immediately (I recommend the later).
If you’re using a regular pot on the stove, you’ll need to cook it over low heat, stirring almost constantly (or every 30 seconds to 1 minute) until it cooks down to the desired consistency (this will probably take at least an hour, unless you don’t mind a more liquidy, apple sauce-like apple butter). I find this process to be a bit less maddening if I’m cooking something else in the kitchen while I make the apple butter. Then I’m not just standing over the stove falling into a stupor. This time, I worked on making monster fingers while I cooked the apple butter.
I forgot to measure it out (opps), but the finished apple butter filled one large jar (maybe about 5 – 6 cups). If you want to make more for canning, just double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as needed.
(enough for one large jar, or several small jars)
- 1 – 1.5 kilos apples (around 3 lbs), peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 c. apple juice
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground clove
- 1/2 tsp. ginger powder
- 1/3 c. sugar (more if using apple sauce)
- dash of salt
- Add apples, lemon juice, spices, sugar, and salt to a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until apples become soft.
- Mash apples into smaller pieces, then blend with a blender or food processor.
- For cooking in slow cooker: Add to slow cooker and cook, covered, for about 10 hours (or until desired consistency). Adjust spices and sweetness to taste. Add to jars, can, or eat immediately.
- For cooking on stove-top: Return apple butter to pot, and cook on low heat, stirring almost constantly, until liquid reduces to desired consistency (about an hour). Adjust spices and sweetness to taste. Add to jars, can, or eat immediately.