As you read in my post yesterday we are up to our ears in apples. Free apples nonetheless. What’s the best about free things is that you can experiment with new recipes and don’t have to worry that you are wasting your money in case you don’t like it. So we tried three different apple butter recipes and I have combined them to create my favorite.
We tried Overnight Apple Butter from Martha Stewart and Amy Traverso, a spiced cardamom Apple Butter also from Martha and Classic Apple Butter from The Art of Preserving. All were great but I combined the best of each to create my own and here it is.
My favorite Apple Butter Recipe
Makes 5 half – pint jars or 2 pint jars (with a little extra)
4 lb apples, peeled, cored, and cut into rough 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 cups sweet apple cider
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (shhh, I cheat and use bottled)
2/3 tsp ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
small pinch ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and set to high for 1 hour, then turn down to low and simmer all day or all night. You are looking for consistency more than timing. You want it to be brown and thick. It usually takes me overnight and then several hours in the morning to cook down sufficiently.
After several hours cooking you can crush apples with potato masher to speed the process along. We like ours chunky so I don’t bother putting through a food mill but you could do that. It’s just one more thing to wash though.
Remove cinnamon stick, ladle into jars and leave 1/4″ headspace. Process the jars for 10 minutes (high altitude 20 minutes) in a boiling water bath. If you don’t can often check out a canning book to learn the detailed process of preparing jars and lids, etc.
Some more tips:
A large crock pot will hold a double batch.
Borrow a neighbors crock pot like I did to make your canning efforts more efficient.
I realize that there are no 1/3 tsp measuring spoons, we scaled this recipe down from another. Just estimate the amounts.
I use Penzey’s spices and I always need to use less than called for on spices because theirs are so fresh and strong, especially the cinnamon.
Cardamom is my new favorite spice, so don’t leave it out!
Half a cup of lemon juice seems like a lot but we used sweet apples and I don’t like it really sweet.