Among the fond memories of visiting apple orchards in autumn are of course all the great apple products that can be made after the trip. From sauces, to pies, to desserts, to salads, apples are incredibly versatile as a key ingredient. Today’s recipe is one of those great treats that comes after a trip to the orchard: apple butter.
Despite its name, apple butter has no butter at all, nor does it include any dairy. Its name derives from from its smooth texture and its use as a spread for breads and biscuits. Apple butter is basically a condensed form of apple sauce cooked until caramelized. You should end up with a smooth, dark brown or deep red spread that can be canned, jarred, or stored in the fridge. The good news is that the concentrated sugars also helps it last longer than normal apple sauce. Experiment with your favorite type of apple, or mix and match for more complex flavors. Keep reading below for the recipe…
(makes 4 pints)
- 6 1/2 lbs apples cored, peeled, and sliced
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Place the apples in a large pot, add the cider, and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft (should be about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt.
- Transfer the apple mixture to a slow cooker. Add spices. Cook on low overnight (10-12 hours) or until the mixture thickens and is a dark brown.
- Uncover, stir in vanilla and lemon zest, and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours
- Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to sterile containers and refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction