Saturday, September 3, 2011

Apple Butter


We made it!

Through the hot and torturous summer, that is.

Seriously, I endure summer just to get to fall.

Fall sings to my soul in a way no other song resonates.

The crisp air.  The bright, vibrant colors.  The smell of burning leaves.  The cooling breeze.  Being able to wear jeans (l.o.v.e. jeans....can't believe I had a season in life where I never wore them.  What was I thinking??!) and boots.  Lower humidity means I have more frequent "better hair" days.

Of course, the aroma of cinnamon-y apples is a definite bonus.

There is something about fall that makes me feel....happy.  Content.

And I just love apples.

This recipe for me goes back to 2005 when I was hugely pregnant with my second baby and my BFF and I decided that we would buy 4 bushes of apples and make apple butter and applesauce.  As if that wasn't enough, we planned on canning it.  Our maiden voyage of canning.

It was a long day.

But I cherish those memories with her, canning the apple butter that had cooked overnight in several crockpots around my kitchen.  Peeling, cooking, milling, canning millions of apples.  Eating delivery pizza together as families.  Seeing the multitude of quarts of applesauce and pints of apple butter.  Absolutely satisfying.

So, 3 cheers to fall....in an apple butter style celebration!!


Apple Butter
Adapted from Allrecipes, from Terri

5 1/2 pounds of apples, peeled and cored (Macintosh apples make the best apple butter; this time around I used Paula Red)
3-4 cups sugar, depending on tartness and desired sweetness
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

*makes about 4 pints  (I have found that every pound makes approximately 1 pint)

Directions:
Place prepared apples in a slow cooker (crock pot).  Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

Cover and cook on high 1 hour.    Reduce heat to low and cook 8 hours, until mixture is thickened and browned.  Stir occasionally.  If you want your apple butter to have a very smooth consistency, process in a food processor to remove any chunks of apple.  In my photo above, I skipped this step.

To can apple butter:  sterilize canning jars in a hot dishwasher (I often will run a rinse cycle and dry...the jars need to be hot).

Fill a large stock pot with hot water, and heat over high heat.  In an additional saucepan, heat clean lids inside metal rims to boiling.

Fill hot jars with hot apple butter and wipe the rim of the jar with a dry washcloth.  Using tongs, remove a lid and rim from the saucepan of boiling water and fit it securely on jar.  Repeat with remaining apple butter.

Place all the jars (as many as will fit at a time) in the stock pot with hot water.  Water needs to be about an inch over the tops of the jars.  Bring water to a boil for 20 minutes.  Using rubber coated canning tongs, remove the jars from the water bath to a cooling rack.  The metal lids should start "pinging," letting you know that the lids have sealed.

Cool jars completely before storing in the pantry.

For more on canning procedures, Google your county's Extension Office.

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