The first time I had apple butter was on my toast at a restaurant. While I can’t remember which restaurant or even how old I was, there is no doubt in my mind that I was immediately hooked. If I went anywhere that had it, you can be sure that apple deliciousness was going to be on my toast. So it is no surprise that 2 years ago I decided I was going to make some.
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Our garden was out of control that year, so I’d purchased a canning recipe book from Amazon in an attempt to figure out what I was going to do with the mountain of vegetables that was taking over the kitchen. While flipping through the book I came across the apple butter recipe and I got super excited. And for good reason. This apple butter is way better than anything I’d ever had before. We frequently eat this on toast, and it is super good as an ice cream topping. And while this recipe makes enough for you to give some to friends and family, you probably won’t want to share.
I’m all about full disclosure, so if you are thinking about making this recipe here a few things you should know. Firstly, while the ingredient list is very simple, this is a very time consuming recipe. It takes a significant amount of time to prep the apples, even if you use an apple peeler corer slicer. In addition, cooking the apple butter until it is thick enough takes about an hour and a half.
Secondly, there is a good chance that when you are cooking the apple butter it will pop and burn the crap out of you while you are trying to stir it. I would recommend keeping small children away from the stove while you are making this, just in case.
Lastly, because the apple butter pops while it is cooking, it will get all over your stove, cabinets, and probably the floor. Because it takes so long to make this recipe you will be tempted to postpone clean up until the next day. Do not wait. The apple butter will harden and you will have to rent a jackhammer to get it off. I exaggerate, but I think you get the idea.
To get started, place the apples and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and boil for around 30 minutes, stirring on occasion, until the apples are soft.
Puree the apples in food processor or blender. Do not over process. The mixture should look like applesauce.
Combine the apple puree, sugar and spices in a large clean pot. If using sweet apples, start with 5 cups of sugar. Add the additional cup of sugar after the mixture thickens if desired.
Bring the mixture to a boil again, then reduce heat. Continue to boil gently until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
To check to see if the butter is finished, spoon a small amount onto a chilled plate. When the mixture holds its shape and does not separate, then the butter is done.
For canning: prep water bath canner, jars and lids. Laddle hot butter into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim of jars, center lids and screw on band. Process for 10 minutes, then remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars from the canner. Let cool, label and store.