Really??? Two days into the year and my one and only resolution is down the drain! Why? I can’t blog if the internet connection is non-existent. I kept going to my computer yesterday to post a note but my computer kept saying “no internet connection”. Oh well, today is another day and I’ll remedy the situation with two posts and hope you can stand two in one day! 🙂
I had a note from a cousin New Year’s Day wanting my Crockpot Apple Butter recipe and I sent it to her. I’ll share it with you as well and if you have any questions just comment at the bottom of the post. I’ve wanted for the last several years to make a copper kettle full of apple butter but we’ve not had enough apples to fill the kettle. I have had enough apples of different varieties to freeze lots of applesauce which we love but it’s been building up. Our smallest freezer is half-full of containers of applesauce and I thought maybe if I use up about half of it Mother Nature may give us a good crop of apples in the coming fall.
I store/freeze the applesauce in the large 48 oz. margarine containers or Cool Whip containers. They’re sturdy and very stackable in a chest freezer. After I cook up the apples, I always add sugar to the pot and stir well to make sure the sugar dissolves before I freeze it. When we need apples on the table (just about every day), all I have to do is thaw it.
Now for the recipe:
I have two six quart crockpots with two settings of low and high. One has a lid that can be vented and the other has securing handles but the lid had a pencil size hole in the top of the lid for venting. I fill the crockpot almost to the top of the pot with applesauce (fresh or frozen) and turn the heat setting to high and cover with the lid NOT vented. I want it to get hot and can tell when it’s hot enough because it will have little bubbles forming around the edge of the pot or may even bubble up.
A very important note to making apple butter in a copper kettle or a crockpot, you MUST stir it. In a copper kettle it has to be stirred constantly but in a crockpot you only have to stir at least every thirty minutes. Why? In the copper kettle over an open fire it will burn unless stirred constantly. Not so in a crockpot but it will get thick on top and form almost a crust of very thick sauce and you will have to stir harder and longer to get it to smooth out and incorporate into the rest of the sauce.
Once your applesauce has heated up to the point of bubbles add THREE cups of sugar and stir well. This is why you don’t fill it all the way to the top, you have to make room for the extra sugar. When you first add this the sauce will thin some. Remember, stir well every thirty minutes or so. DO Not put the lid on tight this time. The vapor of the water in the apples needs to get out and this helps the applesauce thicken. Also be careful of bubbling sauce popping out on your skin. Each time that you stir you will notice the sauce turning colors as you stir. Try to pull the bottom sauce to the top. I found out a couple years ago the blending and stirring is easier if you have a good whisk to work it.
At this point, continue to leave the lid cracked, stir every thirty minutes, and continue this step until the sauce gets thickened to your taste. I don’t like it real thick, it spreads better on buttered biscuits and toast if it’s a little thinner. Last step, this is where you flavor the sauce and it becomes applebutter.
This is the step that can make or ruin your apple butter. Some people only like cinnamon, we like cinnamon and cloves. My recipe is 4-6 drops of cinnamon and 3-5 drops of cloves. Be very careful when you add this to your batch and taste test after one or two drops of cinnamon. Once you have flavored with the cinnamon, then do the same process with the cloves. You can add more drops of each depending on your taste but taking baby steps in flavoring will make the process worthwhile. After you have the flavoring in cook the applebutter about 20-30 minutes longer stirring more frequently. You will notice the applebutter will be darker.
During the last minutes of processing, prepare your jars. I use regular mouth pint, half-pint and jelly jars for canning. The half-pints and jelly jars make great gifts but the gifter may come calling for more because it’s sooooooo good! I pour the hot applebutter into the jars, put on the lids really tight and set aside with a heavy towel over the top to retain the heat until the jars seal. You’re done!! Easy and so good!!