What is a girl to do when she has 25 apples to use up and very little free time?
Apple butter–easy, smooth, warmly spiced, sweet, and tangy. It’s heaven in a crock pot.
It takes a long time in the crock pot (mine was a full day and night–probably around 20 hours!) but you don’t need to babysit it at all, so it’s a piece of cake.
Apple Butter (makes 3-4 pints)
- about 10 lbs of apples (I had 20-something small and medium apples, all different varieties)
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1 C water
- sugar to taste (optional)
First off, peel the apples. I’m proud to report that I peeled 24 or 25 apples in 19 minutes, and several of those apples without breaking the peel. You know what I mean? One long spiral of peel for an entire apple.
I know. I was impressed, too.
Core the apples and roughly slice them (again, I strongly suggest you get those apple corer/slicer deals–it’ll only cost you a few bucks but it’s so helpful! I use mine every day!). Dump them all in the crock pot, top with the spices and water, cover, and cook on high for an hour or two.
I couldn’t fit all my apples in the crock pot at once, so I let the first half cook down a bit then crammed the rest in there. The apples will reduce by a lot, so you’ll have room!
Turn the crock pot down to low, and cook (I left it covered) for 8 hours, during which time I went to class. Once I came back, I put the crock pot down to low again (it turns off automatically), and removed the cinnamon sticks. We had a lot of young, green apples, so my apple butter needed a little sugar–I added half a cup. If you have sweeter apples, it may not be necessary at all to add any. Totally up to you. I propped the lid open with a knife and went to bed. In the morning, my every apple butter dream had come true.
I put some into jars to keep (and maybe give away–we’ll see!), and the rest in the freezer. You can process these jars to seal and store them, but I think that in order to do this safely, there should probably be a higher sugar content. You could always do a little more research if you want to go that route.
I also had some in my giant bowl of steel-cut oats this morning, with some wheat germ and ground flaxseed. I was full for a good four hours, which felt great since I was back at my clinical playing with the cutest kids ever all day.
What can you use apple butter for? On toast, in oatmeal, in yogurt, mixed in a green monster, with your cereal, in baked goods, scooped up with fruit, and eaten with a spoon. Since you probably won’t be able to resist (I sure couldn’t!).
How gorgeous is that dark brown apple butter?
The spices were a perfect balance–no overwhelming cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice taste, but just enough to fill me with glee about the continuing fall weather.
Fall…I love you.
Here’s our CSA box for the week! Another small one, but they should be getting bigger soon. So sad that week 17 is already here and we only have 9 left–I’m definitely going to miss it.