This weekend was apple-palooza in my little kitchen. J., the boys, and I went apple picking at Larriland Farm Saturday afternoon (more on this in a separate post), and we left the farm with a half bushel of Fujis, 8 lbs of Ida Reds and 5 gallons of fresh apple cider.
That’s a lot of apples. I delivered half the Fujis to my neighbor Allison, who, much to the boys’ delight every Halloween, makes a mean candy apple. The 5 gallons of cider went into J’s latest batch of hard cider, and we’ll eat the rest of the Fujis over the next couple of weeks. That left the Ida Reds, which were perfect for apple butter.
J and I celebrate our anniversary every October, and for the last couple of years we’ve spent the day in Bird in Hand near Lancaster, PA browsing furniture stores and quilt shops and dining family-style at Plain & Fancy Farm. Plain & Fancy has been farm to table since it opened in the 50s, relying on local Amish farmers to provide the vegetables they serve in a several-course, pass-the-platter meal. Plain & Fancy also serves a mean apple butter with thick, crusty bread.
Apple butter is a concentrated form of applesauce, cooked long and slow in cider until the sugars in the apples caramelizes, turning the apples dark brown. The high sugar content makes it ideal for preserving.
This easy recipe for authentic apple butter fills the kitchen with the smell of fresh apples and cinnamon as it slowly cooks overnight in a crockpot. Apple cider vinegar adds tartness for balance. Any apple will do for this recipe, so save those Honeycrisps for eating straight out of the bin. Bonus – there’s no need to peel the apples.
- 8 lbs apples, cored and cut into large chunks
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- 2½ cups apple cider
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Add all of the ingredients to a 7-quart crock pot and mix gently.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on the "low" for 22 hours - if your crockpot's low setting times out at 10 hours, you'll need to restart it before bed.
- After 22 hours, use an immersion blender to puree the apples until smooth.
- Cook the pureed apples -lid off - for an additional 2-4 hours on low, until the apple butter is the desired thickness.
- Yields 6 pints. Preserve in sterilized jars, freeze, or store in the fridge in air-tight jars for up to 6 weeks.
Want more fall recipes from Three Beans on a String? Check out our new seasonally inspired weekly menus, or try these recipes:
- Rustic Venison Pot Roast
- Thai Kale Salad with Coconut Lime Dressing
- Lemon Sage Roasted Cornish Hens
- Moroccan Carrot and Sweet Potato Fries
- Housewife Chicken, Apples & Fall Vegetables
- Bison Chipotle Chili