Monday, September 24, 2012
Insanely Easy Crock Pot Apple Butter
On Saturday morning we loaded up the ol’ mini van and headed to a local apple orchard to pick up some apple-y goodness. We ended up getting a gallon of cider (no preservatives), an assortment of fresh apple and pumpkin donuts, and a bushel of McIntosh apples.
the kids wanted to stay and feed the animals in the petting zoo…
and monkey around a little!
Hey…how’d that get in there…? Haha! Gotta love a warm apple donut drenched in cinnamon sugar…Mmmm!
The apples we purchased were #2 grade (or “seconds”). This means they weren’t pretty enough to sell at full price. They have some bruises and scabs…but taste exactly the same. Oh yeah…and cost half the price!! SOLD!
When I got them home, I washed them up with a little Basic H solution, to get any dirt and residue off of them, then rinsed them well.
A few years ago I made some Crock Pot Freezer Apple Butter…but lost the recipe. So, I decided to create one of my own using what little I remembered.
To my utter astonishment…it turned out PERFECT!
First you will need to peel and slice your apples. I used 19 medium to large McIntosh.
I LOVE my apple slicer for this!
All I had to do was use my peeler/corer, then cut the skins off with a small paring knife. I cut each slice in half again, and placed them in my Crock until it was full. Again, for me, this required 19 apples.
(That darn wine…always sneaking its way into my pictures…)
Next, I added a cup of apple cider, but if you do not have any, water is perfectly fine.
This is where the recipe may vary from person to person. McIntosh apples are fairly tart, which is why I LOVE them. I used 1 1/2 cups of firmly packed organic brown sugar. If you are using a sweeter apple, like a Gala or Delicious (which I don’t recommend…but hey, to each his own), you will need significantly less sugar. Just start with 1/2 cup, and increase it as needed throughout the cooking process.
As for spices, I added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. This should remain the same no matter which type of apple you are using.
Gently mix your apple slices, cider, sugar and spices together, and set you Crock Pot to low.
This is what I had after about 4 hours. I mashed them up a bit, replaced the lid, and let it cook down for another 5 or 6 hours.
It had cooked down quite a bit at the 10 hour mark, but still wasn’t thick enough for my liking…so I propped the lid open, set it on “warm”, and went to bed.
In the morning, when we returned from church…which would have been almost 24 hours into the process, I was ready to put my apple butter in jars.
First I did a little taste test. Definitely YUMMY!
I used my canning funnel, and sterilized jars, lids and rings.
Since I was freezing it, as opposed to canning, I left a little more head space for expansion (remember…things expand as the freeze)….about 3/4 of an inch. You will either need to refrigerate or freeze the fresh apple butter within a day.
I got 4 of the small 1/2 pint jelly jars, and a single pint jar out of this batch. I also had about 1/2 cup left over. We totally ate that on homemade buttermilk biscuits with dinner. Heaven on flaky bread.
To celebrate FALL…and the fact I have an ENTIRE bushel of apples to use…I am going to be posting a different apple recipe all week!
Tomorrow…one of my husband’s favorites…Apple Crisp.
I hope you all had a marvelous weekend!