Apple Butter

I shared a recipe for applesauce earlier this week and today, I'm sharing how you can turn that applesauce into apple butter. It's super easy because all you need to do is pull out the slow cooker.

I used about half the batch of applesauce I made and it made about half a pint of apple butter, which I think is plenty for consumption in our house. However, if you want to give this out as gifts, you'll need a heck of a lot of apples (or really tiny jars).

If you've never had apple butter, I highly recommend you try it. It's just like a highly concentrated applesauce that gets really rich and caramel-colored and thick enough to spread onto bread. My sister asked why they don't just call it "apple jam" because there's no butter involved. I suppose it's because apple jam already exists (probably made by adding pectin to thicken up the apples as they cook).
Ingredients [yields ½ pint]:
½ batch applesauce
cinnamon stick
orange rind with cloves
+ ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed (optional)
+ slow cooker

This recipe is super easy. Basically, just add in the homemade applesauce, the cinnamon stick and clove-studded orange from the applesauce making process, and a little sugar (if you like) to a slow cooker. Pop it on low heat and then leave it to slowly cook down and caramelize for about two hours.
After two hours, remove the cinnamon stick and the orange rind. Let the apple butter continue cooking on the low setting for ten hours, stirring occasionally.
I left mine to go overnight and this is what I came to in the morning. If there are small "pools" of moisture sitting on top of the apple butter, let it cook for another hour with the lid off.
The final product should be lush and thick.
Allow the apple butter to cool slightly before popping the mixture into a food processor. Puree until smooth.
Spoon the apple butter into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Because of the concentrated sugar content in apple butter, it should actually last longer than applesauce does. However, because I'm not a food scientist and I don't want to get anyone sick, two weeks is my usual rule of thumb for my canned goods that are not properly canned.
Apple butter is amazing when it's simply spread on a piece of fresh bread. It's bright and fragrant and tastes like getting punched in the tongue by apples. It's awesome. I also think it would be great on a savory sandwich made with pork; perhaps slathered onto ciabatta and then topped with roast porchetta with some caramelized onion and hot peppers? My mouth is watering.
Here's the recipe page:


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