Rosey the Riveter

Friday, October 21, 2011

Apple Butter

Today was the day I finally got to make apple butter!  I am looking forward to slathering it on corn bread this winter!  This 5-star recipe was my inspiration, but as you'll see, I doubled it and changed it up a bit.

First, I started out with 11 pounds of apples.  Mostly Gala, but some Golden Delicious, Fuji, and Granny Smiths, too.
And then I whispered a silent prayer of thanks for my Pampered Chef apple peeler.  I got it (and the wooden stand to stabilize it) at a yard sale many years ago for $2.  It was a steal.  I only use it once or twice a year, when I have to peel A LOT of apples, but it is SO worth it to have it. 
Apples went into the crock pot, peels went into another bowl, and the cores went into the compost.  This is a ZERO WASTE project.  Everything gets used.  (Yes, even the peels.  More on that later.)
Once all the apples were peeled, I mixed together 6 1/4 cups of sugar, 2 Tbl of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves.
Then I poured it all over the apples and turned the crock pot to high.
 The peels then went into the dehydrator.  They will crisp up once dried, and I will run them through the food processor.  This will yield apple powder which will be great in homemade oatmeal, muffins, etc.  I may even try making my own tea.

This is when I decided to read all the reviews of the recipe and discovered that many people thought that there was too much sugar in it.   (Someday, I'll remember to read the reviews BEFORE I start cooking!)  I'd already reduced it from 8 cups to 6-1/4 but decided that I'd add some more apples to counter-act the possible over-sweetness.  So, I peeled another pound or two and added them in.

At this point, the kids came home from school and Abby saw the apple peeler and got all excited.  "That means you're making APPLESAUCE!  Can we eat the peels?"  I had to laugh.  Last fall, during the annual applesauce making marathon, they fought over whose turn it was to eat the peels as they came out of the peeler.  There were none left for me to dehydrate!  I would have totally forgotten about that, so I love that that memory stayed with her.  Someday I hope she'll tell the story to her own daughter, while they are having a marathon of their own.  This is what I want for my kids.  Happy memories in the kitchen...

Anyway, I digress.  The recipe said to cook on high for an hour, but I let them go for longer just because the crock pot was SO full.  Then I turned it to low and let them simmer, stirring every once in awhile.
Once the apples were soft enough, I hit them with the stick blender and left it simmering for a few hours.  The original recipe said to cook them for 11 hours, then uncover for another hour.  But most of the reviews said it took longer than an hour to get a thick consistency.  My strategy, since I started in the early afternoon, was to cook it on low until bed time, and then switch it over to warm overnight.  The next morning, I uncovered and let it simmer for awhile.

It still wasn't thickening up like I wanted, so I transferred it to the stove top and mixed in a little lemon juice.  This does two things... brightens the flavor a bit and also provides some natural pectin for thickening.
 At that point, I processed the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  As you can see, I only got 8 1/2 pints out of the deal!  Which means each jar contains about a pound and a half of apples and 3/4 cup of sugar, but we don't need to think about that!!!

1 comment:

  1. Yum!! And Taylor and I fight over the peels when we dehydrate apples! But now I will be saving some for powder as well!