Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apple Butter

Oh we have been eating apples! Apples for breakfast, apples with lunch, apples as a snack. I have a few more apple desserts up my sleeve but after visiting one of my favorite blogs, Blue Yonder, I was struck with an apple epiphany…Apple Butter! Why didn’t I think of it before? Stefani at Blue Yonder is so smart; she makes apple butter in her crock-pot! Genius!

Tati and I had gone shopping and when we got home she helped me peel and chop all 6 pounds of apples. We didn't finish until after 10pm, but it actually worked out well cause these have to cook for 11 hours, so putting them on before bedtime was the smartest way to do it for me. The smell that we woke up too was heavenly. The whole house smelled like baked apples.

I started one batch in the blender, poured 6 half pint jars, filled the blender up with the second batch, pushed blend, went to lift the jar off the base, the bottom piece somehow unscrewed itself and before I knew it I had hot apple butter pouring out all over the blender! What a total mess!! I panicked and yelled for John. He cleaned up the whole mess while I whined about it.

Doesn't the blender bottom look like some kind of an alien? It even looks like it has horns and teeth. The blender couldn't be saved and ended up in the trash. Oh well. John said it was the best smelling mess I ever made. So one blender down, and more apple butter to make.

Of course we scarificed a jar and did a taste test as soon as it was cool enough to eat. It was so delicious! Not just good, not really good, it was fantastic. The only thing I did different from Stefani's recipe was to cut my sugar to 3 1/2 cups since I had picked some really sweet apples. It was perfect. No it was better than perfect. I think I need to go pick about 12 more pounds of apples so I can make a double batch to last us all winter. Thanks for such a terrific recipe Stefani.

Apple Butter
(recipe from Stefani at Blue Yonder)

6 pounds of apples. After weighing, peel, core and chop them (It's tastiest if you use a few different kinds of sweet apples, like Gala, Fuji, Braeburn or the Delicious varieties)
4 cups of sugar (you could probably use less)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt.

Mix the dry ingredients then pour over the apples and toss. Cook in a crockpot on high for an hour and then on low for 10 hours. Remove the lid and cook for another hour. At this point, you can put it through a food processor or blender to make it extra smooth. Just do it in very small batches. It will be really hot and could burn you.

Spoon into clean jars (leaving about a half inch headroom), put the lids on and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. Ours was gently boiling.

If you want to skip the hot water bath, you can just freeze your jars (plain old jars have worked just fine in the freezer for us). We tried freezing with one of our jars of apple butter, just to see if it would alter the texture once it was frozen and then defrosted. Nope, no difference. It worked great!
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