Many moons ago, I cooked up my first batch of apple butter. It was surprisingly simple and tasted better than anything I had growing up; and from what I remember, the jars my mom would bring home tasted pretty darn amazing! This no-fail low-maintenance method is my constant go-to when making apple butter. It is so easy you’ll wonder why anyone would choose a different route!
If you want to make apple butter, the first thing you need to do is make applesauce: read – a perfect recipe for putting up during the off-season! The directions for unsweetened applesauce are in the beginning of the linked recipe; although, I highly encourage anyone who loves vanilla and maple to make the “awesome sauce”. Trust me, you will not be disappointed! When apples come into season this year, I’m making a batch of vanilla-maple apple butter!
Apple Butter – yields approximately 9 pints
9 qts unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
4 cups sugar
Place 6 qts of applesauce in your slow-cooker (or however much fills it to within 1-inch of the rim), add the spices and 2 cups of sugar; mix well. Set heat to high and cook for an hour with the lid vented; resting the lid on a long wooden spoon works well. Reduce the heat to low and allow to continue cooking for an additional 8-10 hours.
Once the mixture has been reduced by half, add the remaining applesauce and sugar. Stir and cook several more hours allowing the flavors to mix. When the apple butter has reached your desired thickness, using an immersion blender, purée mixture into a creamy consistency. Ladle into hot, sterilized, half-pint jars and remove air bubbles; wipe rims, add two-piece lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or for as long as your altitude requires.
Images and content copyright © 2013 Danielle R Limoge. Recipe courtesy of PickYourOwn.org.
Two weekends ago I picked up a bushel of Loring peaches. This particular free-stone is my absolute favorite variety when it comes to canning and jam making. Just ask Beth at Rohrer’s Orchard, I start calling mid-August every year inquiring about their ripening date.
For me, peach butter is the perfect partner for pancakes. No need for butter, or maple syrup, or honey: just velvety smooth peach butter will do just fine! This year I decided to switch things up a bit by adding a vanilla bean into the mix. I’m so glad I did because it takes this fruit spread to an entirely new level!
Madagascar Peach Butter
8 cups chopped peaches, skins removed
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1 Madagascar vanilla bean
Place chopped peaches in a crock pot and mash with a potato masher to release juice. Set heat to high and cook for an hour with the lid vented; resting the lid on a long wooden spoon works well. Add sugar, stir, and set heat to low. Continue cooking an additional 6 hours (with the lid propped open allowing steam to escape). Once your fruit has cooked down, add lemon juice and the seeds from the vanilla bean. Using an immersion blender, puree mixture into a creamy consistency. Ladle into hot, clean, half-pint jars and remove air bubbles; wipe rims, add two piece lids and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, or for as long as your altitude requires.
This year I decided to try my hand at making and canning fruit butter. I really really love apple butter, so I assume my taste buds would have the same affection no matter what the fruit. I found a recipe at pickyourown.org
, a long time, go-to source of mine. It allowed for several variations in the amount of sugar, which to me is important. The main draw back, however, is that the recipe called for cloves. I am not a fan of cloves, but I am keeping an open mind.
Low Sugar Blueberry Butter from Pick Your Own .org
10 cups of pureed blueberries
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Feeling the need to have a back up spice plan I continued searching and stumbled on this recipe found at Food in Jars, which had even less sugar than the aforementioned. Score!
Even Lower Sugar Blueberry Butter from Food In Jars
8 cups of pureed blueberries
2 cups sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, I subbed 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
For both recipes I pureed my berries in the food processor and then placed them into my slow cooker on high. I added the sugar and lemon juice and turned the heat to low once the mix was hot. I allowed my butter to cook overnight, approximately 8 hours. It is important to keep the lid propped open to allow the steam to escape. A wooden spoon works great! The next morning I added my spices and continued cooking for an additional hour or so. Once I had my desired thickness I turned the slow cooker off and allowed it to cool a bit. I then used my immersion blender to bring the butter to a smooth consistency, ladled it into hot sterilized jars. and processed in a BWB for 5 minutes.
After tasting both recipes I’ve come to the conclusion that the cloves are not as distinct as I initially thought they would be. I’m super happy with both flavors but next time I may marry all three spices together and keep to the 2 cup sugar recipe!