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.
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.
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.