My mom taught me to can when I was pretty small. We put up lots of jams and vegetables when I was a kid. Store-bought was expensive and we usually had a garden, and we never threw ANYTHING away.
This recipe grew out of another recipe and Mom & I tweaked and fidgeted with it for awhile to get it right. There arent many ingredients, but you’d be surprised how much a little more cinnamon, a different type of apple, and not enough allspice can change things.
The complete directions will be in the recipe below, but I wanted to give you photos of the process and my tips as we go along, so I’ll put them in the body of the blog here.
You need to be sure you get the right apples. Delicious apples are ok for this – but not my favorites. This batch was made with Pink Lady apples. I also like Gala, Braeburn or Johnathans. I think Granny Smith’s would be too tart, you’d need to add more sugar than what we have outlined here.
First get your gallon of cider on to reduce. Right in your canner and bring to a boil, reduce it in volume by half.
Next, you need 4-gallons of apples – that’s 16-quarts – I cut up some apples and measured them in my quart jar to see how many made a quart. For these apples – it was about 4 per quart, but you will need to measure yours, some are bigger than others.
I then counted out all my apples and laid them out on the counter. I filled the sink with cold clean water and got to work with my wedger. You dont need to peel your apples, but you do need to core them.
Once I got them all wedged and clean and my cider was reduced I dumped all the apples in my canner. This filled it up to the top, so I had to keep smushing them down and stirring them around until they were all cooked, soft and mushy.
Once they’re all cooked to a pulp, I started running them through my food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, borrow or buy one – you CANNOT use a food processor for this – the food mill turns your apples into applesauce and removes the skins from your mix. This takes awhile and I only have the one canner/pressure cooker so I mill into about 3 large mixing bowls. You’ll need to scrape the skins out of your food mill after every few batches.
Once you’ve got it all milled, dump it back into your canner and add the rest of the ingredients. Be sure you just SIMMER this – don’t boil it – because the bottom will burn. Stir often while it cooks together. I think I cooked mine for a good 30-40 minutes on a low simmer.
Note – If you do burn the bottom, its okay, just be sure not to stir to the bottom or scrape that up into the rest of your apple butter, it will make the rest of your batch taste burnt. If you have a 2nd canner, dump the good stuff over into the clean canner and get that burned on stuff soaking – it will take awhile to get it off.
To test your butter, put a glob on a plate and let it cool down a bit – if it slides around in one big blob and “looks” like a loose jelly, it’s ready to jar and process.
I sanitize my jars and rings in the dishwasher to get them ready when i first start and let them sit until I need them. Use a canning funnel to ladle the apple butter into the jars leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. Wipe your rims, add a lid that you’ve boiled for a few minutes and removed from the heat. Screw on a lid until it’s just hand tight – you don’t need to permanently affix the ring onto the jar.
Process your jars 15 minutes for 1/2 pints, 20 minutes for pints. I had one quart because I ran out of jars – that one I did 20 minutes plus I left it in the hot water (burner off) for about 10 more minutes.
This batch made a whopping 20-PINTS of Apple Butter. I’ll have gifts and yummyness in the pantry for a long time. It took quite a long time – probably 4-5 hours start to finish with waiting time while things cooked – but it was totally worth it.
Get the recipe below – but you might want to bookmark this whole article for the instructions. If you get stuck or have questions, just post them below and I’ll answer as fast as I can. You can also email me at carrie (at) lookslikehomemade.com
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