I came into about 20 lbs of Gravenstein Apples grown in Sebastopol, CA …of course they could not go to waist so I took the opportunity to make some Apple Bread and Apple Butter.
This was my first foray into making Apple Butter. I knew it had to be slow cooked for hours and my husband is not okay with having our stove on for that long so I went in search of a crock pot to borrow. I was in luck, my neighbor had the perfect one.
I knew I wanted to make something low sugar and I wanted to work with the spices I already had in my cupboard – I also didn’t want my Apple Butter to turn into glorified apple sauce. I perused multiple recipes online and finally chose two that would be the base for my butter. If you don’t know by now, I’m a notorious recipe riffer. I rarely stick to a recipe exactly, especially in the online recipe blog ecosphere. Now, if you’re talking about a Julia Child cookbook, that is a whole different matter (although I’ve been know to riff on her recipes as well.)
CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER
Makes about 2 quarts.
12 cups – Gravenstein Apples (preferable homegrown and gratis)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups unrefined cane sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Dash of kosher sea salt
Peel your apples and cut the flesh away from the core. I try to avoid apple corers because there is more pectin close to the core of the apple and this will help in the butter’s solidifying process. Chop into chunks. I just put all the chunks straight into the crock pot.
Add your spices, salt and apple cider vinegar. Stir in really well, I used my trusty tongs to make sure I mix up all the ingredients while keeping them inside the pot. Use a micro-planer to grate the lemon rind over the apples when you’re done, cut the lemon in half and juice away. Hopefully, you have this bartender’s friend lemon squeezer. Mix it all in well.
Turn the crock pot to high and cook for 1 hour, decrease heat to low, cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours and dark brown, make sure to keep your tongs handy and stir every couple of hours, uncover and cook on low for 2 more hours. This is when an immersion blender will come in really handy. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend it. Blend until smooth.
If you want to can, by all means go for it, I’ve found putting a little in some 6 oz. jars and giving them to friends is the way to go and just instruct that they refrigerate. I have my 16 oz jar in the fridge and it will last quite a few months…well, unless I have a pork loin party. Slather that on. Yum.