Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Apple Butter Tutorial

After mentioning a batch of apple butter last week, Sam requested a recipe. Umm...OK. Here's ya a recipe :)
Go ahead. Eat me. Make my day

Start with a LOT of apples. I had half a paper sack full. The great thing about apple butter is you can use those funky home-grown apples- cracks, blemishes, etc. are all fine. Mine were from a tree in Mom's yard we always forget about and harvest late. These apples were way past their prime- I'm sure I couldn't have eaten them if I wanted to keep my vow to never touch alcohol. They were POTENT! You'll also want a food mill and a crockpot. You could punt and do without, but they make this a lot easier!

So, take your apples and cook them soft. It will go faster if you halve or quarter them first. I microwaved mine, but you could boil them too. Mine were soft enough that they didn't need much help.

Once your apples are soft, start loading the hopper of your food mill. You can see my set up below- I clamp it onto an extendable bread board under the counter with a 9x13" pan to catch the puree and a small bowl to catch the waste. (I actually traded the small bowl for a 9x9" pan later. Do whatever works for you.)

Once your apples are in the hopper start using the wooden pusher to start mashing them through, while turning the crank on the side. The corkscrew inside mashes everything against a fine sieve- the puree comes out the side and down the chute, while the nasty parts (skins, seeds, stems, etc.) head straight through. It's REALLY a good idea to have one of these- go borrow one! (Mine belonged to my sweet MIL...who swears she was never able to use it for applesauce and had to borrow HER mother-in-laws. Which makes me wonder...do I have Great-Grandma's food mill??)

Once you've churned through all those apples, dump the whole thing into a crockpot and crank it to high for the rest of the day. Keep it on low over night, and then crank it again in the morning. You want to go from this....

to this. It will take quite a while, but keep the lid off and it will cook down and won't scorch. It's hard to do this on the stove top without scorching it! If you like you can add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sugar, or whatever floats your boat. Me, I like straight up apples.
Once it's nice and thick, ladle/push it into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. My half bag of apples made 2 pints of apple butter, so you'd need a LOT of apples if you wanted to make a lot of apple butter. The good news is that most of the work is hands off. You could also start with store-bought apple sauce.

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Aunt LoLo said...

Look at you all crockpot fancy!

My next batch of marmalade is going to be in the crockpot. I'm just wondering - if I heat it that slowly...will it do the big foam-up thing? Can I only fill the crockpot half full??

Ticia said...

Yummy. We just made applesauce yesterday. If I didn't already have about another 5 apple recipes planned this week. I'd try this one.

Su said...

You're so good with the canning! I wish I had someone like you here with me to encourage me to can.

I need someone to be by my side when I can. It's not like sewing or crafting, because, if you don't do it correctly.... someone could be really, really sick! :)

lera said...

This is on my to-do list this fall. Along with pear butter and maybe a berry butter (from some frozen organic, triple berry blend stuff I saw at the wholesale club).

What kind of food mill do you have? My friend has a Squeezo and I've heard good things about it, but it's totally expensive.

Sam said...

Thank you, dear. I have never seen a food mill before--fascinating. And not to be rude, but...the first pic? With the applesauce-y looking stuff? Looks edible? And the next pic? Not so much. :) I assume it must taste really good, though. I love apple butter.

Teresa said...

You should link up your post over at the inspired room- She is having a fall nesting link up party this week. {Check my blog for a link to her blog.}