Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Homemade Apple Butter


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 
Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars
Ingredients
• 4 lbs of good cooking apples {I filled a 4 quart pot heaping with apples. See photo, below.}
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar {I did not use vinegar.}
• 2 cups water {I used only about ¼ cup water. See NOTE.}
• Sugar, about 4 cups, (After cooking and pureeing, add ½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp)
• Salt – a dash
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ½ teaspoon allspice {I used ½ teaspoon nutmeg instead.}
• Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Preparing the Fruit 

Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts. {I did core my apples.}

Cooking the Apples 

Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Note: I put all my apples in a large pot (see photo), adding about ¼ cup of water, and placed the pot to cook over a very low heat until the juices from the apples were released.

Measure the purée and add the sugar and spices 

Ladle cooked apples and liquid into a blender (about 2 cups at a time). Measure resulting puree. Add ½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Cooking the Purée 

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 (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. 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.)

Canning 

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.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter unrefrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. 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 use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.


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