Sunday, October 20, 2013

Apple Butter

When I was 9 years old, my grandparents bought me the American Girl Doll, Felicity.  I was fascinated with reading Felicity's books and learning about the history of colonial Williamsburg.  I had so much fun playing with the doll and her wonderful accessories.  A few years later, I received Felicity's sixth book, Changes For Felicity.  The book starts out with Felicity picking apples to make into apple butter.  As I went back in time with her, I helped her stir the apple butter over the fire.  That was when I decided I wanted to try making my own apple butter!  I found a recipe in an old church cookbook, and tweaked it around until I came up with this recipe.

My dad and brothers are particularly fond if this apple butter, and I try to make a bunch every year to keep them in good supply.  Even though the process is a little time consuming, the results are well worth the effort.      


Start out with about 25 apples.  As an experiment, this year I also threw in about a cup of crab apples.




Quarter the apples - no need to peel or core.  I also think that keeping the peels on while cooking adds a few extra nutrients to the finished apple butter.




Here you can see the crabapples mixed in with the others - I didn't quarter the crabapples.




Place apples in a large heavy-bottomed pot and add 3 cups of apple cider.  I like to use apple cider rather than water as it gives the apple butter more flavor.




Cook down the apples until the whole mixture is soft (not pictured) (because I forgot to take a picture of this part).  Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. 

Then, place a sieve over a bowl and press the cooked apple mixture through the sieve.  Discard the skins and core pieces. You could also use a food mill, but I have found that this sieve/glass technique gives me a much better consistency. 




Place the apple mixture in clean pot.  Add sugar and spices.




Let cook for about 3 hours, or until darkened and thick.  Pack into hot sterilized jars and boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 




Apple butter is delicious on toast, sandwiches, scones, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, french toast or just out of the jar!




Terra's Old Fashioned Apple Butter


  • 20 medium apples
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cloves
  • 5 to 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cut apples into 4ths.  Put into heavy kettle.  Add cider and cover.  Cook over low heat until very tender, stirring often (will scorch easily!).  Cool slightly, then rub through a sieve or use a food mill to remove apple skins and seeds.  Measure out pressed apples, which should be about 11 cups of pulp.  Put into clean heavy kettle.  Add sugar; you want about half as much sugar as pulp.  Stir in spices.  Simmer over low heat until dark and thick, for two or three hours.  Stir frequently, as this scorches easily.  A nonstick pot or pan works well for this procedure.

Remove from heat and pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headroom.  Tighten lids, process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  The apple butter will thicken as it stands.

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