After patiently listening to my extensive plan to make apple butter which included exactly which farm I wanted to pick the apples at on the way home from my birthday weekend and where we needed to go to get the right jars to put it in, Mike said, “Sounds great, but ummmm, what exactly is apple butter?”
Whoops, guess I should have started there first.
Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of applesauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. The term butter refers only to the thick, soft consistency, and apple butter’s use as a spread for breads. In the Netherlands they enjoy apple butter on bread with a thin slice of cheese which sounds pretty darn good to me.
- 5 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 4 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place the apples in a crock pot. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker and mix well.
- Cover and cook on high 1 hour.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
- Uncover and continue cooking on low 1 hour. Stir with a whisk, if desired, to increase smoothness.
- Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze.
My apple butter took much longer than 11 hours. I left it on warm overnight which I guess wasn’t hot enough. I ended up cooking it for more like 20 hours stirring it often on high for the last two.