It’s apple season and I’m canning!
I was excited this year to find an orchard to get apples! It was actually a bit of an adventure to find. But after driving for about an hour, and taking countless wrong turns (thanks google maps), we arrived at Henrietta Creek Orchard. It was a tiny little orchard and by the time we got there, nearly empty. The apple picking season was over (hence the emptiness) and the only thing she had left were “seconds” – the apples that were slightly bruised or marred. Not so great to eat, but perfect for canning.
So, we loaded up boxes with about 10 pounds of apples and headed home.
This year’s project: apple butter.
I cut off the bad spots, peeled the apples and cut them into a pot.
And, as Rob pointed out, we had the remarkable occurrence of me cutting fruit for an hour and a half without cutting myself once! We had a celebration.
Hey, it’s the little things.
I mixed the chopped apples with a little apple cider (the good/real stuff), some water, and a bunch of spices. I threw in a little sugar and molasses for richness and depth of flavor.
The apples took a few hours to cook down, then we used the immersion blender (thank you lisa!!) to puree them. Another hour of cooking, and here we were.
Once we were done with that process, it was time to call it a day, so we cooled the butter and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day it was time to take my canning supplies for their trial run.
They worked splendidly and now we have 18 jars of apple butter canned and ready to enjoy.
For anyone who wants to make apple butter themselves, here’s the basic recipe I used:
Apple Butter Recipe
10 lbs apples, peeled & quartered
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp molasses
Ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves to taste (I used way more cinnamon and nutmeg than cloves)
Peel and quarter (or chop) apples into large pot. Add apple cider, water and sugar. Add spices to taste. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the apples are fork tender. Blend with an immersion blender, pour into a blender, or crush with a potato masher or the back of a slotted spoon. Continue to cook, adding additional sugar and/or spices to taste. Cook until color deepens and apple butter is thick enough for a spoon to stand upright in it.
You can put the apple butter in jars and keep in the fridge if you don’t want to can it. To make it last longer, you’ll need canning supplies.
Fill canning pot with water until it covers the tops of jam or pint jars. Heat on medium heat until the jars reach 180°F. Heat the lids in a separate pot to 180°F as well. When the jars are hot enough (they don’t need to boil), remove and drain a jar, filling it with hot apple butter. Wipe the edges of the jar so that there’s nothing to block the seal. Place a lid on the jar and finger tighten the ring to close it. Return the jar to the pot and repeat the process with the additional jars. Once all the jars are filled, process the apple butter by bringing the water to a boil, replacing the lid and boiling for 10 minutes. Let the jars cool in the water for 5 minutes then carefully remove and let sit for a day/overnight. Before storing the jars double check to make sure that they are all sealed and the buttons on the lids haven’t “popped.”