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This weeks recipe is: Homemade Apple Butter via the crock pot. Perfect for the busy household.
5 – lbs apples (I used a mixed bag, use your families favorite).
1 – cup white sugar.
1 – cup brown sugar.
1 – heaped Tbsp cinnamon.
¾ – tsp nutmeg.
¼ – tsp cloves.
¼ – tsp ginger.
½ – tsp sea salt.
½ – lemon squeeze the juice over your chopped apples.
½ cup apple juice (you can use water)
½ – rum (you may omit).
1 – Tbsp PLUS 1 – tsp of vanilla extract.
I will be using a crock pot to prepare my apple butter. You can cook this via stove top. I just personally don’t like constantly adjusting the heat, the splatter and the burns caused by said splatter. I received some harsh burns from stove top splatter while canning and I simply don’t see the reason to repeat those moments in time.
Peel, core and chop your apples. Seriously this is the only time-consuming step in making your fresh apple butter. If you happen to own a food processor; you can simply place your peeled and cored apples in and pulse until apple sauce consistency, you may need to add your apple juice during this step.
Once your apples are chopped (no need to be fancy) squeeze the juice from a ½ lemon over your apples.
Then add each of your ingredients listed above over top of your apples, except your rum and vanilla. Set those to the side near your crock pot; you will not need them for a while but you don’t want to forget about them (hence the reason I set them near the crock pot and my stirring spoon.
Plug in your crock pot and set the temp to high, then give your ingredients a good swirl. Cover and walk away for a least 4 hours.
At this point you will see your apples starting to become all happy in the base for your apple butter. Since I do not own a food processor; at this point I begin to mash my apples with a hand held potato masher every time I check my sauce. Thus keeping my apple butter from sticking to the pan and breaking up the apples a little at a time.
Now at the end of 6 hours this is what you will find when you lift the lid and the scent of fresh apple butter hits you. At this point I add my rum. Then I used my hand held electric mixer to finish breaking up the apples (simply because it was quicker, go ahead call me a slacker).
Make sure your jars and lids are VERY clean and ready to go.
Notice** the depth of your sauce after cooking and reducing. Just over a half a crock pot, when we started out with nearly a full crock pot.
This is the point where I wish we had smell o’ vision; because my friend this smells divine!
You will need to tilt your lid or prop open with a wooden spoon, allowing the steam to escape so the apple butter can cook down; reaching the proper consitity. You will want it to “cling” to the knife blade. It will fall off but not quickly. If too much steam it settling down into your crock pot it will not allow the apple butter to thicken up. The cooking time for reducing your apple butter will vary depending on the amount of steam that escapes and your crock pots temperature. Mine is old as dirt so it gets pretty hot. My final cook time was right at 8 hours.
Now add your vanilla extract. Then turn off your crock pot and let it sit for 30 minutes with the lid off to allow the apple butter to cool slightly before filling your clean glass jars.
Once the jars are ¾ of the way full, I wiped down the jar, including the rim and all around the top.
This recipe is for refrigerator or freezer apple butter. I do not have the equipment to properly can my apple butter, which will cut down on shelf life. Once the jars have cooled down make sure you refrigerate them a use with in 30 days. When I’m freezing a batch I use plastic freezer containers.
I started out with not quite a full crockpot of whole apples. I ended up with not quite 5 full jars for my time. Not bad considering the most labor intensive part was peeling and chopping up the apples. Now if I owned a food processor that time would have been cut down immensely. *Hint, hint Santa… up to date crock pot and food processor. 😉
After the jars cooled over night I forced myself to taste test some on my morning grain toast. I believe I did a good job and foresee the jars disappearing rather quickly.
The fresh jars of apple butter make perfect gifts. Simply add a piece of cloth tied with a bit of rustic twine and you’re good to go. Always make sure you let your gift recipient know the shelf life of the product you’re gifting them.
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