It was a very good year for apples; not ours, but everyone else’s and they shared with us…and shared..and shared some more! When you have a lot of apples, the best thing to make is apple butter! It takes a lot of apples and is VERY EASY to make. I am not one to hawk name brands and don’t get paid to endorse (but I wish I did), but there are two products you need to make it a snap; the Pampered Chef veggie wedger and the Kitchen Aid food mill. These two products are my go to guys for the job.
Wash 6 lbs apples and put them in the wedger-no peeling necessary-and press down. It chops easily and cleanly. (pic 1) Throw the apple wedges in a large kettle and add 3 cups of liquid; You can use 3 c water and 5 c sugar (added later), or 3 c apple cider/tropical juice (I used Ocean Spray) + 3 c sugar (added later). You can also substitute 1 c honey for the 3 c sugar. It will be less sweet, but still yummy. Be creative!
Boil the apples and liquid for 30 mts until apples are soft but not mushy. (pic 2) While it’s cooking, get the food mill ready. Like I said earlier, I prefer the Kitchen Aid food mill; it’s a separate attachment you purchase from the mixer unit but it works like a dream on fruits, veggies, and meat grinding. After it’s attached, use two ice cream pails; one for the pulp which comes out the one end and one for the apple puree which comes out the other. Kids love this part-trust me. It’s fascinating to watch. (pic 3)
Once all the apples are pureed, return to burner and add the sugar/honey, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves to the mix. Bring to a gentle boil and let it simmer for hours-and I do mean HOURS, until it’s reduced down to your desired thickness. Mine were on the burner for seven hours-stir every fifteen minutes to prevent burning. Some people use a crock-pot, but since I doubled the recipe, I used my big mamba-jamba pot. Yep, that’s what I call it and don’t make fun of it. Towards the end, gather the necessary tools to hot water bath the apple butter; canner, jars, lids, etc. Remember the water has to cover the jars 2 inches.
Fill the jars. leaving 1/4″ and wipe the tops carefully; anything between the jar and the lid means it won’t seal. Place the lid on and screw the band on finger tip tight; not too much or you’ll never get that band off again. By now your water should be close to boiling so carefully put the jars in it, put the lid on, and get it back to boiling. Process for ten minutes, then carefully take out and let cool on counter. Remove bands after an hour. NEVER keep the bands on; if you want to wash off the jars before storing them and THEN put a different band loosely on it, you can, but don’t keep the originals on. You will rue the day. It might look a little slushy at first, but by the next day it will be a nice, thick consistency and ready to be spread on warm bread. Enjoy!