Last weekend GC and I visited a nearby orchard to pick up some apples. It was a beautiful crisp fall day – flannel shirt weather – with big blue skies. Fall makes me want to whip up things like apple butter, applesauce and maple-apple jam. It’s been a busy week around here so I finally got around to making the apple butter today.
I think mixing different varieties of apples produces the best flavor so I purchased Arkansas Blacks, Golden Delicious, Rome, and Winesap apples. Since the Arkansas Blacks were a new variety for me I just had to eat one fresh. Oh boy was it good with its sweet/tart flavor and crisp bite! I think I’m in love—I may have to plant a couple of Arkansas Black trees.
Apple butter was on deck first, so I hauled out the crockpot and got started prepping the apples. I used about 14 for this batch.
Wash, peel and core; after peeling I just cut the 4 sides off around the core then slice each. I save the peels and cores to make apple jelly later. Just bag them up and freeze them until you are ready for them.
On Halloween weekend I was in Maryland for a family Halloween party and my lovely cousin sent me home with some great apple cider. I poured a cup in the crockpot and added the cut up apples. Water can be used also if desired. I’ve seen some recipes that liquid is not included though I’ve not tried it. Turn on low, cover and let sit for about 8 hours. Stir occasionally.
The apples should be breaking down pretty easily at the point so I let a bit cool on a spoon. I’m tasting for sweetness here. I don’t like adding sugar right off the bat because it really depends on how sweet the apples are as to how much to add. For mine, I decided to add ¼ cup of brown sugar and added the following spices: ¼ tsp. ground cloves, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of cinnamon.
If you like it chunky just mash the remaining apples or you can use an immersion blender, food mill, food processor or blender to smooth it out. Leave lid off and cook on high until apple butter is thick enough to hold its shape on a spoon.
It can now be canned, frozen or eaten fresh. I chose to freeze this batch in small canning jars instead of canning like I normally do since I plan to send a jar home with various family members and they will not last long anyway.