I guess you could say apple butter runs in my blood…because, well, it does! You see my German ancestors (lovers of all things sausage and apples) came and settled in a little Illinois town known for their apples. In fact, they picked that spot because it was so much like Germany. Their main export was apples and everything apple related. Back then, apple butter involved stirring over a cauldron for hours on end. Thankfully, today, it is much easier as long as you have a slow cooker.
First and foremost, we need to talk about what kind of apples should be used for apple butter. What you need to know, is that people in ye olden days didn’t use pristine apples for apple butter (or applesauce, for that matter). They used the bruised, old apples that had fallen to the ground. So please, please, do not use big beautiful 99-cent a pound apples for something like apple butter. See if you have a friend with an apple tree that has apples falling to the ground or see if you can catch your produce guy going through the apples and see if you can have them for a discount. (I just did this and got this huge box of apples for only $4!)
So here is the truth about how easy apple butter truly can be:
- Quarter your apples (don’t worry about peeling or coring)
- Throw the apples into a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low overnight. (No need to add any extra water!) You may need to borrow some slow cookers but luckily everyone has one so they are easy to borrow. 😉
- Wake up and enjoy the wonderful smell of cooked apples all through out your house.
- Run your cooked apples through a foley food mill*
- At this point it’s like applesauce, but we want it thicker. So put the applesauce back in your slow cooker and prop the slow cooker lid up by placing a cooling rack in between the slow cooker lid and the container. Propping the lid will allow for air circulation and for the extra liquid to evaporate.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.
- If you like a smooth and creamy apple butter, blend the cooked down ‘applesauce’ with a hand-held submergible blender.
- Add in the following ingredients to taste and blend in about 2 T. ground cinnamon, 1 t. ground cloves, 1/2 t. allspice, and 2-4 C. sugar.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Eat it on anything and everything. My favorites are oatmeal and pork roasts. Oh my…it’s so great and you will become addicted. Here is what my canning buddy and I did last year…we were a little over zealous as you can tell. But it still turned out ah-mazing!
If you don’t know what these are, you should! They are wonderful and amazing and can be used for many things like berries for jam or apples for apple sauce. You just place it on top of a bowl or pot (to catch the stuff coming out) and you move the handle around. It separates the skins and seeds for the part you actually want. They are FANTASTIC! Pick one up easy at Amazon and save yourself some time!