I’ve wanted to try making apple butter for some time now, so I thought with all the apples I picked at Eckerts two weeks ago (here’s my post on that)
https://carpediemdona.com/2013/09/28/apple-picking-at-eckerts-orchard-grafton-illinois/ I thought now was the time, after all, there’s a first time for everything.
I got out my handy-dandy apple peeler/corer I bought a couple years ago. In theory, once you place the apple on the spit, begin turning the crank, the apple will be peeled as it heads toward the corer and the corer blade will neatly core the apple while spirally cutting it. Like I said, that’s in theory. What happened most often is the apple was not perfectly round with the core in the center and my corer would malfunction and leave me with a mess of a partially peeled apple that I would have to remove the core from. Thank goodness for my apple corer/slicer.
First things first. You have to Make the Apple Sauce
I’m not real good at using exact measurements so what I used was:
About 25 apples
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
3/4 Tb. lemon juice
About 1/2 tsp. salt
Cook with lid on for about 20-30 minutes until apples are mushy (scientific term)
All the recipes I read said the peel should be left on the apple because a lot of flavor comes from the peel. Then, after they were cooked, to use a food mill to separate the apples from their peels and mash the apples.
I don’t have a food mill so what I decided to do was cook the peels with the apples and separate them later. This worked out well and after removing the peels, I used my old (and I mean old–forty years at least) Osterizer blender to puree the applesauce and return it to the pot to cook.
I added about a half cup more of brown sugar (I don’t really measure anything) and three of the cinnamon sticks and a couple cloves. One recipe I read said to use a spice bag to put the cinnamon and cloves in, but I don’t have one of these either. I just put them right into the apple sauce and took them out later. I added a cup of white sugar, a tablespoon of cinnamon, and some cloves (that is a specific measure I’m sure you know). I cooked the apple sauce on low heat without the lid for two and a half hours until it smelled heavenly and was a nice caramelly brown. When I scraped the bottom of the pot, the apple butter didn’t immediately cover the path of the spoon so I knew it was thick enough.
I used a wide mouth funnel to ladle the apple butter into the jars and a knife to cut through the butter to remove air bubbles. This helps to make the vacuum seal.
I prepared six pint jars in a hot water bath for 30 minutes and left them in the water until I was ready to fill them. My apple butter was only enough to fill the jars with just a little extra left over. I didn’t have a seventh jar that would have taken up the last space in the pot so to avoid the possibility of the jars falling over or clinking together, I put a clean towel into the pot.
I couldn’t wait to try the butter so with a fresh cup of hot coffee, I dug in. It was great!