Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple Butter

Let me preface this blog carefully:  I have never made apple butter.  I've seen lots of recipes, but I've never tried it.  Hubby is from Ohio and tells stories of the Johnny Appleseed festivals where people would make cauldrons of apple butter over an open fire, stirring them with a oar, and I think I'm a little intimidated trying to live up to a childhood apple butter memory. 

Today my Uncle Gil sent me an apple butter recipe, saying "Try this!"  The first thing I notice is it requires a slow cooker; I don't have a slow cooker any more.  But Uncle Gil assures me that one can do the first step on the stove top and the rest in the oven, and I have a nice cast iron Dutch oven.  So what the heck, I'm making apple butter.

Another caveat:  I actually have not made this yet, but I promised my friend Christie I'd blog the recipe today.  So here you go:
All Day Apple Butter

Apples, ready to cook!
5 1/2 lbs apples
3 cups sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Peel, core and chop the apples.  Place in slow cooker. Combine the rest and pour over apples; mix well.

Cook on high 1 hour covered.  Cook on low for 9 - 11 hours.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Spoon into freezer containers leaving 1/2" head space and freeze or refridgerate.

Makes 4 pints.
Uncle Gil says any pie or cooking apple will do.  I got half Gala and half Granny Smith because I couldn't decide (and I couldn't find Braeburn, which I love).  I'll be canning the apple butter instead of freezing it; the Ball Blue Book says to leave 1/4" headspace and process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner (following proper hot canning technique, of course).  It also notes that if your apple butter gets too thick add apple juice or water until it's the desired consistency.  Uncle Gil says the cookdown can take up to two days, so don't be in a hurry. If it's not thick enough, keep cooking. 

I tried to discover what temperatures slow cookers work at to only learn they don't regulate temperature, they regulate wattage.  So I read a lot and decided to cook the apples on medium-high for an hour and then put them in the oven at 200°F.  So far it smells wonderful!

I'll follow up with pictures of the apple butter when I finish it!

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