Here’s the situation: my partner, Kevin, and I would buy a three to five pound bag of apples for our weekly healthy snack and sometimes we forget that we bought the apples in the first place! The apples would sit and after two weeks would turn brown and mushy or dehydrate into miniture shrunken head versions of their previous glory and would look just sad and forlorn. Then I suddenly remembered about apple butter!! This would be a great way to use whatever apples that are in good shape that were forgotten. “What is apple butter?” I remember asking the first time I had it, it is just mashed apples, spiced and cooked down to a thicker consistency. “Is there butter in it?”, no, butter is not used to make it, but the word butter is used to describe the spreadability of the end product- “Like Butta!!!”
- 4 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (roughly 14 medium)
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- In a large 8-10 quart sauce pot, combine apples and cider, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove apples and purée in a blender in batches with some of the liquid. In the last batch, add sugar and spices. (Alternatively, press apples through a food mill or sieve and return pulp back into pot and then and sugar and spices.).
- Return all puréed mixture to pot and bring back to boiling then reduce heat to lowest setting possible. Cook uncovered, over very low heat for 1 hour and 45 minutes, stirring often. If the apple butter is thicker than desired add a little bit of apple cider or water and stir. Ladle hot apple butter into hot, sterilized canning jars if desired. Spread over your favorite bread or pastry.
- If you are using apples other than Granny Smiths, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to balance the sweetness.
- I cooked the apple butter down to a jelly/ thin paste so that there is even more flavor and it makes the butter more spreadable. If you want a more classic apple butter, pass it through a sieve for a somewhat chunkier consistency and change the cooking time to 1 1/2 hours.
- Don’t be alarmed!! As the apples cook down and is mixed with the cinnamon, the sugars will caramelize and the mixture will turn a reddish brown color.