Friday, October 23, 2009

Apple Butter and the Arrival of Fall

Sorry for the lapse in posts. We got a great start and then nothing... You must have thought the oven broke. But fear not. Posts are coming. I've got a couple of great ones lined up for you and Apple Butter is just the begining. You're gonna be licking your fingers wanting more, at least I hope you will...

So in the spirit of fall and my Dad's upcoming birthday I decided to attempt making apple butter. So I called up the girls we gather as many jars, pots, and apples as we could find. And so the adventure began. Good thing we had some left over cake to munch on because you should not try and use your great-grandmothers oversized pot to process your jars- no matter how many hours you wait- it will not boil. Haha.

Apple Butter

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

This recipe makes roughly 40 ounces of apple butter. We made 5 small 8-ounce jars (which I think were the perfect size) or you could make a couple large sized jars, it's up to you.

  • 4 pounds of apples, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (we used Gala, and Fuji apples)

  • 1/2 gallon of apple cider

  • 2 cups of sugar (I typically use about a 1/2 cup of sugar for every pound of fruit)

  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon

  • 1/2 t. cloves

  • Juice of one lemon

Prepare the jars: Heat oven to 225 and place jars (but not bands or lids) on the baking racks. Jars will need to stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Boil the bands (not lids) with in hot water and let them dry completely on a clean towel. Use new lids.

Make the apple butter: In a big, heavy pot over medium/med-high heat add the apples and enough apple cider to just cover the apples. Bring to a simmer. A bit of a foam will form, you want to skim that off a couple of times (don't obsess). Cook the apples until they are tender and soft, roughly 20-30 minutes. Next puree apples in a blender (or use an immersion blender, thats what we did). If you use a blender make sure to do it in small batches (don't fill the blender over half full with the hot liquid- it expands). The puree will be thin- don't worry.

Put the puree back in the big pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Then, while stirring, slowly sprinkle in the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice. Continue to simmer over medium/med-low heat. It takes quite a while from this point until the apple butter reduces and really thickens up, (It took us about an hour). Make sure you stir regularly, you don't want it to burn or cook to the bottom of the pot. You are looking for the apple butter to thicken up and darken. Towards the end it gets a bit messy, the simmer becoming more lava-like - it also sounds different, lots of plop and slop noises and lots of spattering coming from the pot. (Very painful polps if they hit your skin.) Remove from heat.

While the apple puree is cooking fill your your biggest, deepest pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. The water level will need to cover the jars.

Fill the jars:Using tongs carefully remove each jar from the oven and fill to within 1/4 inch of the top with the apple puree. Wipe off rims with a clean dry paper towel. Place a dry lid and band on each jar and lightly tighten. Using tongs place each of the jars in the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let jars sit in water for about a minute and then remove. Check to make sure lid has popped down, if not you may process again within 24 hours. Let jars sit for 24 hours then store in a cool dark place.