When fall is here and apple season hits its peak, we all think of those juicy gems and what we can do with them. One of my favorite is making "Apple Butter". I fell in love with an apple butter from an eatery in Alabama this past spring, and wanted to see if I could re-create the recipe. And I am so darn thrilled that I hit it spot on today.
Its pretty simple and easy but you must have patience , so give yourself a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon. And here are my step by step instructions with photos for you!
Start with about 10 lbs of apples ( about 20 good size med/large apples) This is a 1/2 peck of "mixed" apples in picture, and for this recipe I used about 3/4 of them. Peel, core and cut them. Place them in a large heavy pot and add in 4 cups of water, and 4 TBS of Cinnamon and 4 TBS Allspice . Start by cooking down your apples for about 45 minutes until soft.
At this point you will want to take a hand blender if you have one and blend them in the pot. Be careful as this mixture is hot. If you do not have a nifty hand blender, you can use a traditional blender and do in small bathes if you wish. Its important to measure your apple puree. I ended up with exactly 12 cups.
To your smooth apple puree you will want to add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a 1/4 cup of white sugar to EVERY Cup of Puree. Yes you need to do a little math at this point but pretty easy. For my 12 cups of puree it was 6 cups of sugar Total ( 3 cups of brown sugar and 3 cups of white sugar) Whisk your sugar in to blend and dissolve and then to this you will add 1 cup of molasses and whisk in. ( I added the molasses in 1/3 and stirred and tasted and decided at 1 cup was the perfect taste- you can adjust to your taste)
Your next step is some patience - you will now need to cook this down till it thickens on a low simmer ( do not boil ) like I said " patience" is needed you do not want to ruin everything you have just worked so hard for. This batch will need to simmer low and slow with stirring about every 20 minutes for approximately 2-3 hours. What you are doing is cooking the water out and creating your luscious thick apple butter to can or freeze. Trust me, LOW and SLOW
Testing your Apple Butter to know if it is done, is a pretty simple test my father taught me making marinara sauce. Simply take a saucer and dab a small amount on the saucer and gently tilt your plate. If you can run your finger through it and it does not join back together and you do not see alot of water separate from it - Its DONE ! If you have not reached this phase after a few hours, do not fear- just simmer some more and retest about ever 15 minutes. Trust me - you will get there.
When done you can can your sweet creation or Freeze it in small batches. Be sure to use the proper canning method for your area. For mine it was a water bath leaving 1/4 inch head space and water bath process for 15 minutes. Using all proper canning methods. If you are in fear of canning, you can freeze this using the ball freezer jars and freezer lids.
10 LBS - PEELED CORED APPLES
4 CUPS WATER
4 TBS CINN
4 TBS ALLSPICE
3 CUPS BROWN SUGAR
3 CUPS WHITE SUGAR
1 CUP MOLASSES
Yields approximately 4-5 Pint Jars or 8-10 1/2 pint jars canned