I recently discovered my parents have TWO apple trees in their backyard! Isn’t that great?!? So I had to make something, like Apple Butter, before they all ended up on the ground.
My parents moved next door to us a few months ago and it seems they got all the good plants. Including a volunteer zucchini plant, that produced some gigantic ones! From one I grated and squeezed 14 1/2 cups to put in the freezer for later. We use these in cookies, breads & soups and of course to replace noodles.
The thing I love about this recipe is that you can stop at different stages for Apple Pie Filling, Spiced Apple Sauce or Apple Butter. Also, if you don’t have fresh apples you can make this from store bought apple sauce.
I’ve found a great deal on a 4 pack of 2 pound jars of the Tree Top organic apple sauce (just apples, water and vitamin C) for about $12 at Costco. That is a great deal considering almost every non-organic brand at the grocery store has corn syrup in it – my youngest boy is allergic to corn – so we must get organic which is usually $6 for a very small jar. And with how many pesticides are being used on apples and the new GMO ones approved, this is definitely one you want to choose organic for.
Prep the Apples
There were two trees brimming full – green and red, both kinda resembled the “delicious” variety. Of course the worms and birds had gotten to many of them, so I picked all that looked like they had a good amount of untouched fruit still on them.
Before I started cutting in I wanted to get all the “organic” off of them, you know dirt, worms and the part they had eaten. So a quick soak in a sink full of water with 1/4 cup of vinegar and a few drops of Lemon essential oil will do the trick.
You can see worm holes and bird pecks – isn’t the imperfection just lovely?!?
If you are using backyard or self pick apples please don’t use a apple corer/spirailzer – you might not want what the mess of finding a still wriggling worm in the center will do to your lovely batch. A few apples that looked perfectly fine had large portions that were totally unusable. So cut and peel by hand it is!
It does take a while, but I have found – just as with all the dishes I have to wash by hand – this has become my “me time”. Just some quiet time to just do a monotonous task and think and have quiet for a bit.
You will have to adjust this recipe for the size crock pot you have. My first batch was done in my 2.5 qt and the next was in a 6.5 qt. I will be sharing the smaller batch recipe with you.
Apple Butter Recipe
- 2.5 qt Crock Pot brimming full of sliced Apples
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice (about one lemon)
- 3 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- Dash to 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- Dash to 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- Mix so that the liquid has coated all the apples and turn on low for 2 hours - or until soft.
- At this point you can take some out for quick apple pie or apple crisp - or like my kiddos, yours may just want to sit and eat a bowl of spiced apples!
- Using an immersion blender, puree right in the crock pot until smooth - it will still have some bite to it.
- If you want it smoother you can remove and run through a food processor.
- Now you have spiced apple sauce!
- Turn on high for about 4 hours.
- Stir regularly until it is as thick as you'd like it to be.
- This is also when you want to taste and add more spices or sweetener if you desire - I go a little overboard on the cinnamon and just a tad in the cloves.
Be careful, you may end up washing your spatula 47 times cause you can’t control yourself licking it every time you stir things up. And now you have delicious apple butter! I ended up canning mine in 1/2 pint jars.
- When done scoop apple butter in to sterilized jars.
- Leave 1/2 inch headroom, place lid, add to a water bath.
- Use a pot that is deep enough to cover the top of the jars – be sure to place a wash cloth in the bottom of the pot so the glass is not directly on the heat.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool – top should pop down, if not just process in the water again.
Now you have some delicious homemade gifts! The small batch made about 2 1/2 pints – but the big batch got me 15 or so 1/2 pint jars. If you have the massive amount of apples I recommend doing a huge batch so you can liberally share with friends, family and teachers.
This is wonderful on toast, use on top of oatmeal or a pork dish. I really like it as a sweet and savory combination with our Sausage and Cheese Scones which our family devours.