Today I thought I'd offer a little taste of what summer and fall hold for us around here. We have several orchards near us and this fall the kids had tons of fun picking buckets and buckets of fresh apples. We made tons of applesauce and apple-butter. I'll have to do more next time because it's February and I only have one jar of applesauce left. I don't know if I can go back to store bought applesauce now after making my own!
I got my recipe from simplycanning.com. If you have never canned anything before they have wonderful instructions.
To make apple-butter you will need:
Enough apples to stuff your crock pot.
1-2 cups sugar (to taste)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
You will also need canning supplies: water bath canner, jars, seals and rings, jar lifter, canning funnel, bowls, whisk, and a sharp knife or an apple peeler/corer/slicer.
Step 1. Gather your apples. (You can use store bought apples if you don't want to pick your own.) Note: The type of apples you use will effect the amount of sugar you use. I like to get apples that are naturally sweet. When I made applesauce from Macintosh and Cortland apples I didn't add any sugar at all.
Step 2. Bring apples home and make the cat wonder what you are doing.
Step 3. Peel, core and slice your apples. The apple peeler shown makes it much faster but if you don't have one you can just use a knife. Cut and peel enough to stuff your crock pot to the brim.
Step 4. Mix your sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt and pour them over top of your apples. Turn your crock pot on high for an hour before you go to bed. At bed time turn it down to low and give them a good stir. Let them cook on low overnight.
Step 5. In the morning get your whisk out and get it nice and smooth. You can leave the lid off and continue cooking for an hour or so to get a thicker darker apple-butter.
Step 6. Can your apple-butter! Processing times vary depending on your altitude so follow the water bath canning instructions at the website listed above.
Step 7. Let the jars cool for several hours in a draft free area. You hear that wonderful little pop when the jars seal. Don't poke at the lids until the jars are completely cool though! Once they have cooled you can check the seals. Take off the rings and wipe down the jars to get any stick residue off. Store in a cool, dark place. Once you open a jar store it in the refrigerator. If you have any jars that did not seal, refrigerate them and use them first.