My friend gave me a TON of apples. I made a HUGE batch of apple crisp that was quickly devoured, and I still had over a dozen apples left. I considered apple pie, applesauce, some type of cobbler, but settled on apple butter. I used to love apple butter as a child. Every fall it seemed to resurface – a seasonal treat! I’d not made it before so I looked up a lot of recipes – all pretty much the same – but here’s what I did and here is what I would do different.
- Peel and slice 12 apples
- Place in a crockpot
- Add: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, all spice, and a dash of nutmeg and stir all the apples/spices together
- Cook on low for 8 hours, stirring every couple hours
- When it cools, add vanilla extract and stir about
- (optional) Puree apples to get a smooth consistency
- Add any additional seasonings that may be needed to appease your taste buds
So that is what I did, but here is what I wish I had done:
- Added more seasonings on the front end.
I did not want the apple butter to be over-seasoned. Too much spice creates a ‘gluey’ feeling in your mouth, but I don’t think that was as much a concern as I thought it was going to be.
- Not pureed
My favorite texture is crunchy. So having an entirely smooth apple butter was nice, but I would not have minded a couple (small) apple chunks here and there.
- Added a bit of applesauce or apple juice as necessary
I was intending to cook the apples for 10 hours on low, but I could tell the moisture was getting zapped from the apples, so I only did 8 hours. I thought about adding water, but decided not to. I think adding apple juice as necessary would have given it a good flavor.
- Played around with different flavors
Most recipes used more sugar than what I added, but I am not a huge sweets fan, so I did more spices. I don’t think the vanilla added anything. Probably could have excluded that, and I wondered if adding a little bit of apple cider vinegar would’ve given the flavor a little something extra? Not sure, but will try it next time!
I used 12 tart apples, but I think it would have been better to use a variety of different apples, tart and sweet. Tart is what I had in abundance to use up, so I did.
With 12 apples, I made two 8 or 12 oz glass jars. I froze one. I hear you can freeze up to 6 months, and we are making our way through the other jar. Regardless of amendments for the next round, the apple butter was still delicious and a great seasonal treat!