Can you feel it yet?
When it’s still warm outside but there is a slight crisp to the night air? When one, then two, then many leaves start changing their colors?
It’s that season. No, not autumn. Apple-picking season and Apple Butter season!
I’m thankful to be blessed to live in an area of the country that is overflowing with gorgeous apple tress. Whether I’m getting my apples from a friend who has an excess from her own tree, or doing U-pick with the family at a local farm, I always end up with SO many apples. Bushels, in fact.
I’ve always made a lot of applesauce, but in the past two years I began making spiced apple butter as well. It’s nice to have a delicious jar of autumn flavors — cinnamon, apple, cloves — on hand to spread on my toast all year round. Another way to use apple butter is in baking — I use it in quickbreads like zucchini or banana bread the same way I’d substitute applesauce for oil.
The following recipe is simple but so scrumptious!
Spiced Apple Butter
What You Need:
- 4 pounds of cooking apples, quartered, but NOT peeled or cored — Granny Smith or Fuji are good choices
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of the apples you use)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp all spice
- 1/2 tsp grated cloves
- grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Place the quartered apples in a large pot on the stove with the water, vinegar, and apple juice. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, simmering 20 minutes or until apples are soft. (NOTE: This step can be made in a slow-cooker)
2. Using a food mill, work the apple mixture through the mill and into a large bowl. Add sugar, spices, and lemon.
3. Cook, uncovered, in a wide shallow pan, stirring ocassionally to make sure there is none of the mixture sticking to the bottom. Cook this way for 1-2 hours, until the mixture has thickened.
4. Can, freeze, or use immediately. Store opened jars in the refrigerator.
To can Apple Butter, simply place in pints and half pints leaving 1/2 inch headspace and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes.
Need something else to can with your fresh apples? Try canning Apple Pie Filling!
Make sure you check out all the free Canning and Preserving Recipes we have on Little House Living! And don’t forget to check out The Canner’s Cookbook, it has recipes on how to use all your home canned goods!
Do you like to make your own apple butter? What are some special variations you do to yours?