This week’s recipe comes from the internet. We received a whole box of apples from Katie’s aunt from the mountains of North Carolina, and we were struggling with what to make with so many apples! Katie’s cousin had just given us some apple butter, and we thought why don’t we try to make it ourselves. We have been very busy with both of us back in school, and at first we were a bit daunted by the task of making apple butter. However, we remembered hearing about a method to make apple butter in the crock pot that was much less involved. After looking in our cookbooks and failing to find any such recipe, we did an internet search and decided to make this recipe from Frugal Living.
- 6 lbs apples
- 1-1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Peel, core and slice apples.
- Put the apples, sugar and spices in a crock pot (4 quarts or larger), cover and cook on high for one hour.
- Remove the lid, and cook on low (stirring occasionally), until the apple butter reaches a spreadable consistency and is dark brown in color.
- Transfer to hot, sterilized jars, taking care not to fill past the headspace line.
To Can: Process the jars for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Refrigerate any jars that fail to seal properly. (Adjust your processing time according to elevation)
To Freeze: Allow the jars to cool. Then, place in the freezer. Use within a year, for the best quality.
- Use a variety of apples for the best flavor
- Want to speed up the process? Turn your crock pot on high, and stir more frequently
- Have a super-big crock pot? This recipe doubles and triples beautifully
- Prefer to make your apple butter on the stove? No problem. Just set your pot to a low simmer. No recipe modifications are required
We have one of those tools that clamps onto the counter, or in our case the table, that peels, cores, and slices the apples all at once.
It made a huge mess on the table and floor, but made short work of the apples once we got it set up correctly.
Our very large crockpot was barely big enough to hold all the apples. The picture below was after the apples had cooked down somewhat.
We ended up needing to cook ours for longer than the directions said, as our apples just weren’t breaking down as fast as expected. The house smelled wonderful and we just let them cook overnight on low, covered, so that we could get the desired consistency. We decided to can what we had made so it would last longer, since it only required the boiling water method. Six pounds of apples only made four half-pints!
Katie: This ended up taking longer than we thought just to prep all the apples, but I think it was worth it! The apple butter was delicious! I think when we make apple butter again we will try it on the stove top and see if the apples cook down better. While we didn’t have to stir as often, the crock pot just took entirely too long to break the apples down into the right consistency, and it did not hold as much as a large stock pot. The peeler, slicer, corer tool makes such a mess, I really want to maximize the output next time I go to all that trouble. I’m sure there will be a next time with this delicious end result!
Gray: As Katie said, the preparation took some time. It helped to work in a team. Our apples were from a wild (not orchard grown) apple tree. This made some of them irregular in shape, so our core-and-peel machine missed some spots and often required trimming up the ends and some bad spots to get the most out of them. To combat this, one of us would run the apples through the machine, and the other would clean up the results. This made the preparation take longer than we thought, but your results may vary depending on your apples. That being said, this is a great apple-equalizer. It doesn’t matter what they started out looking like, the results will be the same. So you may be able to take advantage of a discount on bruised/spotted apples at your orchard, farm stand, or farmers market.
Once they were prepped, the actual cooking was a breeze, just put everything in the crock pot and let it go. As Katie said, we decided to can these to make the apple butter last longer and so we could give some as gifts. Our apple butter turned out a very deep brown because we had to let it cook longer than planned to get it to break down further, but it was still delicious, and we found that the canned product was even better than the fresh. Good luck and enjoy!