Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How To Make: Homemade Apple Butter

Since last week was all about pumpkins, I thought that this week I would do nothing but apples! Apples are another great part of the fall harvest. There are so many varieties of apples, each of them having specific properties. Macintosh for example, are bright red with a sweet white flesh that becomes pretty soft when cooked. Gala apples are widely grown because they keep well and have a nice sweet flavor. This year, I have some apples called Duchess of Oldenburg. These are an early season apple, originating from Russia in the early 18th century and is considered an Heirloom variety.  These apples are great for cooking and is what I’ve been using this year because it was available from my favorite local farm, Blue Marble Farm.  If you can’t get your hand on these beauties, mac’s are the next best thing.  My version of apple butter is made in a crockpot. This allows me to cook the apples overnight without paying any attention to them. Then in the morning, the lid comes off, the temp goes up and they get stirred every so often. The crockpot helps prevent scorching that can occur when you cook it down over an open flame.

What You Need:

Several apples, cored and quartered
1/2 c apple cider, apple juice or water
1/2 c honey
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cloves

What To Do:

In a large, 6 quart crock pot, mix all the ingredients together. Put the lid on, turn it to low and cook for 10-12 hours.  I do not remove the skin from my apples. It gives the finished apple butter a bit more character. If you don’t want skin floating through your apple butter, peel them and save them for making apple cider vinegar. (I’ll tell you how in a post later this week.)
In the morning, remove the lid and turn the crock pot to high. At this point, I remove some of the apples and blend them in my blender so that they are bit finer in texture. This is not a step you have to do unless you’ve used an apple that holds there shape when cooked.
Continue cooking on high with the lid removed for most of the day. By remove the lid, you let some of heat escape which in turn helps to prevent from scorching. You’re apple butter is done when it’s nice and thick and there is no more liquid. Pack into sterile jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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