Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apple Butter

applebutter

 

On our spring trip to Pennsylvania, we discovered apple butter.  This delicious spread was served on fresh bread at an Amish restaurant where we had lunch.  We brought jars home for family and friends, along with “Amish Peanut Butter” (a yummy combination of peanut butter, marshmallow crème, and karo syrup).

Just the other day, we finished the last jar from our “stash”.  I was tempted to go online and order more, but common sense prevailed.  Instead, we decided to make our own.

If you plan to do the same, I highly recommend a gadget such as the “Apple Mate 3.”   This handy machine quickly “pares, cores, and slices apples in one easy motion. “  It looks kind of scary, but works great! Available at kitchen stores, hardware stores, and online.  The price should be around $25-30.  Matthew LOVES it…  Wesley loads the apples, and Matthew turns the handle. We can make a Crockpot full of perfect little apple slices in a matter of minutes.

applemate

We found a great recipe for apple butter for the Crockpot at allrecipes.com.  Click here.  For our first batch, we followed the recipe exactly.  Although it was good,  for the second batch we decreased the sugar to only 2 cups, and used 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon of cloves, along with the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon per batch:

5 1/2 pounds apples

2 cups sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

You can always add more sugar at the end if you think it’s not sweet enough.  We all prefer the batch with half the sugar… better flavor and more healthy.

Also, I could easily fit a double batch into my large crock-pot.  The house smelled heavenly all day.

Although you could package the spread in plastic containers and refrigerate or freeze, we chose to pour the hot apple butter in sterile jars, then process in a hot water bath for about 15 minutes.  All our jars sealed… Hooray!

This recipe is really simple and turns out great.  We plan to gift the jars for Christmas, covering the lids with pretty fabric of course!