How to Make and Can Apple Butter
Does it get any more autumn than these photos?! Don’t answer that question. I am sure that we could make it even more autumn. Last week we were blessed with beautifully cool and breezy weather, but the sun has brought its heat back with it for another tease. I believe one would call that an Indian Summer, yes? I had to move all of our apples from the porch and into the basement to keep them at a consistent temperature. The one thing I am realizing after this entire growing season is that fresh food storage is a PAIN. Not necessarily because of the food going bad but because of all of the bugs everywhere! They do quite a bit of damage and are simply gross for lack of a better term. There’s nothing like cooking in a kitchen full of fruit flies. We have invested in traps, apple cider vinegar, and are close to resorting to sprays because it’s been incredibly annoying. All of that said, we learned about something called a fly light that I think will be our ticket to having a fly/gnat free country store! Did I mention that we’ll be opening the country store soon? It’s been a while since I’ve had a nice long blog post here… Look out for a new Homestead Update coming Friday!
Today I am sharing with you how to make some delicious apple butter. The previous owners of our farmhouse planted about 8 apple trees on the property. They’re all well over 10-years-old so they are producing beautifully. This year was an on season for most of our trees, one or two having not produced much or anything at all. This is typical of some apple cultivars, though not producing can also be a sign of inaccurate pruning (the one tree I didn’t get a chance to prune in spring unsurprisingly did not produce!). I have been picking apples left and right. They are most certainly not beautiful, but they taste amazing - the most amazing apples I have ever tasted! I decided to make the uglier ones into apple butter.
Ingredients + Recipes |
Makes about eight 8-ounce jars or four pint jars.
Original recipe via Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
12 lbs apples; peeled, cored, and quartered
2 cups apple cider
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
In a stainless steel saucepan, heat the apples and apple cider over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low boil (higher than a simmer). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are softened about 15-30 minutes.
Working in batches, transfer the apples and juices to a food processor. Pulse until a uniform texture is achieved, about the consistency of mushy baby food. Do not liquefy. Measure out 12 cups of apple puree.
Place the apple puree back into the saucepan and combine with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and holds its shape on a spoon (see tip below). This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending.
Meanwhile prepare your canner and lids.
Lade the hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles, wipe the rim, place on lids, and apply the bands.
Process for 10 minutes. Remove the canner lid and turn off the heat, let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove from canner and wait for jars to seal. Check seals in 12-24 hours.
A Few Tips
Use a stainless steel saucepan to cook the fruit butter. Fruit butters should be cooked over medium-high heat and stirred quite frequently to prevent scorching. Most fruit butters need 30 to 60 minutes of cooking time to form correctly. Using stainless steel helps liquid to evaporate over other types of materials.
To test if a fruit butter is done place a small plate in the fridge. After 10-15 minutes place the butter on the chilled plate and watch to see if liquid separates from the solids, creating a rim around the edge. Once the mixture holds its shape and does not separate, it is done.
If you prefer a butter with less sugar or no apple cider, adjust as follows. For a butter with less sugar: substitute 1 cup of honey for the 3 cups of sugar. For a butter without apple cider: replace cider with 3 cups of water and increase the sugar to 6 cups.
I absolutely loved this recipe! The apple cider really makes such a huge difference. I have replaced the cloves with nutmeg before on a bind, and it definitely alters the flavor but is still really delicious. I love spread apple butter on toast in the morning for my breakfast. I have also used it in a sauce for meats or on cake. What do you like using apple butter for?