Friday, November 20, 2015

Apple Butter

I mentioned that my brother Marshall gave us some apples (about a bushel) from their orchard in West Virginia. At last this morning I have a few hours to devote to making apple butter from them.
Beautiful apples:
My mother and I split the Jonagolds and Golden Delicious. I chop them in half.
And load them into a big stew pot with a little water in the bottom -- not much, because you don't want watery, tasteless applesauce or apple butter.
Here's my apple spoon. A strong, sturdy, unbreakable spoon is needed to push the apples down as they cook and implode. My oldest brother Max made two of these spoons for me many, many years ago, before either of us were married, I think. It's stronger than all my metal spoons. I love them.
While we're on that topic here's a set of salad servers he made for me too. I love things made of wood.
I've posted about making applesauce (but cannot for the life of me find those blog posts right now!), and I've used WalMart apples to do so. They work, and the sauce is certainly better than any you get on the grocery shelf. But here's a comparison of apples:
Left: WalMart Ginger Gold; Right: Marshall's Jonagold
Quite a difference in size. And all that volume difference is apple flesh -- the good stuff.
After the apples are soft and mushy, I put them through my food mill. It presses the apple flesh through, but keeps the stems, seeds, and skins above. It saves so much time not having to peel and core the apples! I bought this nearly 20 years ago in Iowa.
This metal paddle squashes the mush apples and presses the flesh through the little holes.
One the bottom of the mill a thin metal wand rotates and scrapes the applesauce off the bottom and into a bowl underneath.
A crock pot FULL of applesauce! I'm following the advice on this site, cooking it on low with lots of sugar and spices for about 11 hours, until it's dark. I've made lots of applesauce, but this time ...
I want apple butter!
UPDATE: The next morning ...
I used the AllRecipes site because I wanted to know whether I should leave the apple butter covered or uncovered for the long, low cook. Hmm. The site seemed to indicate to cover it, so I did ... all day long. For about ten hours it cooked, and it did darken some. But it was still the runny consistency of applesauce.
So Adam recommended removing the lid, but this was at 10:00 last night, so my only option was to leave it cooking on low overnight, with no lid. Made me nervous. But I did it. And in the wee hours this morning, I found this:
 Lovely, dark, thick apple butter. I had it on toast this morning.
Apple butter calls for much more sugar than apple sauce. I didn't measure. I also added a good amount of cinnamon, and smaller amounts of clove, allspice, and nutmeg. The flavor is quite good.
I canned two-and-a-half quarts of it, saving a bit for immediate use. This is a perfect item to make around Thanksgiving. So glad I have this on hand before next week, when the house will be full to busting! Our whole family will be here. I'm so happy!


  1. Yum! I made my apple butter this year with a gifted basket of apples from a friend. I sweetened it with brown sugar, and I simmered a vanilla bean in it (in the crockpot). It will be used as Christmas gifts b/c I did 2 batches :) I love that wooden spoon.....very beautiful and useful!!

  2. I love apple butter and I like it to be brown and thick! No lid.
    Your family will be happy with your jars of goodness!


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