Monday, February 23, 2009

Apple Butter Time!

I realize that for most folks apples are more a symbol of autumn than the last month of winter. But for me apple butter time is now.

Every fall we go to an apple growing region just across the state line in Washington called Green Bluff. We usually come back with big crates of Granny Smiths and Honey Crisps. And we never head home without buying a dozen pumpkin donuts, too...yummy!

From October on we eat these wonderful apples and make tons of pie until we get to the point of being slightly burnt out on apples. But there's always some apples that are left and we kind of forget about them since they are stored in the basement. This usually happens around February or March. I made a batch of apple butter this last weekend and this is how I did it....

What you'll need:
4 quarts of sweet apple cider
3 quarts of pared apple chunks....about 4lbs of apples
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
6-7 half pint canning jars with lids
Heat the 4 quarts of apple cider to boil and then back it off to a simmer. Simmer uncovered so it can reduce. You want this to reduce down to 2 quarts which will take approximately 1 1/4 hours.
We like to use our apple slicer/corer to prepare the apples. Emma loves helping me on this part.
Now we have 3 quarts of apple chunks and a tub of skins and cores to feed to the chickens.
Once the cider is cooked down to 2 quarts we are going to add our ginger, cinnamon and cloves to it. And we are going to add our apple chunks in there, too.
Bring the mixture to boiling then back off to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the apples are soft and can be broken with a spoon. This will take about an hour. If you want a smoother texture to your apple butter, run the cooked apples through a food mill but it is optional.
Once you arrive at the texture you want add the 2 cups of sugar. Stir it in and heat it to boiling. Back off to a simmer.
Simmer this uncovered and stir frequently. In the mean time get your boiling water canner heated up to 180F. Your lids and jars need to reach this temperature to insure food safety. But do not allow the water to reach a boil because this is not good for the seals on the lids. We want our lids to experience boiling temperatures only once and that is during the finally processing.
We want to cook down the apple butter for about 2 hours. To test if the apple butter is ready to put into the jars you will place a spoonful of it on a plate, tilt the plate and if no liquid separates from the pulp it is ready.
Fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth and place the lids on the jars. Seal with rings and processing in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Add 5 mins of processing time for each 1000 feet above 1500 feet. I live at 2500 feet above sea level so I process my jars for 15 minutes.
Take the jars out of the canner and cool. Check the tops of the lids to be certain that you have good seals. Now you have apple pie in a jar to spread on your morning toast! Enjoy!


  1. Thanks Carolyn. I didn't realize how easy the apple butter is to make.

  2. Your apple butter is sooooo yummy! I love this tutorial, but you're giving away your secrets!!

  3. Carolyn

    Thank you.

    Your apple butter is fantastic.