At an early morning meeting several weeks ago my coworkers and I went through the usual 'what did you do last weekend' discussion. Imagine my delight to hear that my friend Emily had made a huge batch of apple butter, and canned it!
I'm always thrilled to learn a new recipe or technique from a friend. It's a great way to find new recipes that actually work and taste great. We started chatting and I immediately offered Emily a guest post on The Clean Plate Club. (Actually, I'm not sure if I would describe as an 'offer' or if I straight up insisted...anyhow)....I'm very excited that she decided to take me up on it - and in addition to writing a guest post - she gave me a sample jar of her delicious apple butter!
See...she even packaged it up super-cute. She's so creative!
I must admit - with all the Thanksgiving holiday goings-on I didn't taste her creation immediately...but once I did, oh boy I put apple butter on everything. I started with some toast to accompany my evening cup of chamomile tea - and then put it in my morning oatmeal the next day. I swear this stuff has the power to make my shoes taste good!
Without any further ado - I give you Emily!
Apple Butter Jeans, Boots with the Fur…
The entire time I slaved over my 2009 batch of apple butter this was all my roommate and I could sing – and fittingly, nothing compliments winter quite as well as some apple butter and Uggs. I made my first batch of AB last year by taking a few different recipes and creating one that suited me in terms of ingredients and arduousness. Along with being a huge hit, it also lasted about 6+ months because of the longevity proper canning affords. So we enjoyed it’s sweetness atop toast or pork chops, stirred into sweet potatoes or cottage cheese, as an oil substitute in cakes and breads, etc. right through to Spring. Making and canning apple butter can easily become a fall tradition for anyone as in love with apple picking and cooking as I am – I am hoping Alicia will follow suit and share her experience next year!
Apple Butter Recipe
4 lbs of good cooking apples (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious - this way you get a nice blend of sweet and tart)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
Sugar (about 3-4 cups, TBD while cooking)
Dash of Salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel works best)
A large (8 cup) measuring cup pourer
6-8 8-ounce canning jars
1. Peel and core apples and cut into quarters, cut out damaged parts. You can forgo peeling and coring to retain more of the pectin – but that is based on personal preference. I prefer the flesh of the apples only.
2. Put apple chunks into a large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Mash a bit to get rid of any remaining large chunks to form more of a puree (it is o.k. if a few small chunks remain – they will soften in the final stage of cooking) and measure out puree by cup into a large bowl.
4. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the salt, the cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
5. Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth when a bit is spooned onto a cold plate and allowed to cool (1 to 2 hours). You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)
1. There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes. I used the oven method which was easy and worked well.
2. Pour into apple butter into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures (I store in the fridge and the first batch I made lasted over 6 months). Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I used a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.