Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Butter

In the house I grew up in, there grew in the yard two large apple trees. Because of the elevation and climate, the trees always bloomed but rarely fruited, as the frost often caught the delicate blossoms before they had a chance to thrive. But every couple of years, Jack Frost would hold back and let the the trees blossom and grow resulting in a bumper apple crop. I'm not sure what kind of apples they were....they were small, tart, and a were covered in a thin,greenish gold skin. They weren't the sweetest apples in the world but we still stole them from the trees on a regular basis, snacking as we meandered to the pasture to feed the pigs or the horses. 

Mom sent my brother and I out into the yard with old milk crates to pick them. We'd drag the full crates to the porch where Mom would lift the heavy loads in her arms and whisk them away to the kitchen. It was there amongst the bubbling pots and mounds of soft peels that the apples would be turned into a variety of delicious treats; pies, apples chips, applesauce, and of course, apple butter. It's one of my fondest autumn memories and I have been eager to recreate it in my own kitchen with my own children.

"Apple Pickers" by Camille Pissarro
And so I did. Apples, apples everywhere. And though I didn't get to pick them myself, I did find them on sale, and organic no less. While I peeled, and boiled and simmered and dried, my children stole slice after slice of apple and sampled every spoon I held for them to taste. This was my first time making apple butter. The recipe is my Mom's of course, with a few alterations to fit my family's tastes.

Crock Pot Apple Butter

4 pounds cooking apples (I just filled my crock pot to the top with apples. It doesn't have to be exact)
2 cups apple cider or juice
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. all spice (I didn't have any so I didn't use it)

Stem, core and slice apples but do not peel. Combine apples and cider in the crock pot and cook at lowest possible temperature for 10 hours. Add sugar and spices. Remove lid for last four hours to cook down. Ladle hot butter into hot jars and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.

It's really a very easy recipe. You can adjust the amount of sugar or spices depending on your tastes. I put the spices and sugar in before I went bed and just let the whole thing simmer overnight.  After breakfast was cleared, I sterilized my jars and canned it at my leisure. It's delicious. The kids practically licked the crock pot clean. And now we'll be able to have a taste of fall whenever we want to...all year long.


  1. I love this post!! Thanks so much for sharing - sounds delicious! I definitely want to try making this ... Maybe we can have a play date and you can show me the last step - the processing for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. That's greek to me :)

  2. I put mine in the blender to blend the skins into the apple butter. I should have made a batch this year. I just finished canning salsa and peaches. Green beans tomorrow night. Oh, the pressure canner is AWESOME!!! Your hubbie will be so jealous!!! Love you!