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Apple Butter

Apple Butter: A Homestead Classic Bursting with Flavor

 Apple Butter, a timeless preserve with deep roots in homestead cooking, is a testament to the flavors of autumn. This rich and velvety spread captures the essence of apples, simmered with spices and love until it transforms into a thick, caramelized condiment. Whether you’re spreading it on warm toast, using it as a dessert topping, or incorporating it into savory dishes, Apple Butter is a versatile and comforting treat that brings the essence of fall to your table. Join us as we delve into the recipe and explore how to create this cherished classic.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds apples (a mix of sweet and tart varieties), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • Juice of one lemon

Instructions:

Prepare the Apples:

  1. Begin by peeling, coring, and slicing the apples. A mix of sweet and tart apples works well to balance the flavor.
  2. Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice to prevent browning. This step also adds a bright, citrusy note to the butter.

Cook the Apples: 3. Transfer the sliced apples to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven.

  1. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and salt to the pot with the apples. Stir well to combine.
  2. Pour in the apple cider or apple juice, and place the pot over medium heat.
  3. Cook the apple mixture, stirring frequently, until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low.
  4. Simmer the apples, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, or until they are soft, caramelized, and have thickened significantly. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Puree and Finish: 8. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the pure vanilla extract.

  1. Use an immersion blender to puree the apple mixture until smooth. Alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor in batches and blend until smooth.
  2. Return the pureed mixture to the pot and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes to thicken further. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.

Can and Store: 11. While the apple butter is still hot, ladle it into sterilized canning jars, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace.

  1. Seal the jars with sterilized lids and rings.
  2. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes to ensure safe preservation. Follow proper canning procedures for your area.

Cool and Enjoy: 14. Allow the sealed jars to cool completely on a clean, dry towel or a cooling rack.

  1. Once cooled, check the seals on the jars. If any jars did not seal properly, refrigerate them and consume within a few weeks.
  2. Store the sealed jars of Apple Butter in a cool, dark place. The flavors will continue to meld and deepen over time.

Cook’s Notes:

  • You can adjust the spice levels to your preference. If you like a spicier apple butter, add more cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg.
  • Apple Butter is not only a spread; it’s a versatile ingredient. Use it in baking, glazing meats, or as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and ice cream.
  • Be cautious while cooking the apple mixture, as it can splatter and become very hot.

 Apple Butter is a taste of autumn in a jar, a labor of love that captures the essence of apples and spices. Whether you’re enjoying it on a lazy Sunday morning with toast or incorporating it into your favorite recipes, this classic preserve is a celebration of tradition and flavor. So, savor the sweet, spicy richness of Apple Butter, and let it warm your heart and your taste buds with the comforting flavors of fall.

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