Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Butter

Nothing says "fall" to me more than making up a batch of homemade apple butter.  I love apple butter.  It has such a rich, sweet flavor to it.  And I love the color too!! All those shiny jars of apple butter just make me feel good inside.  And those of you who do any home canning know exactly what I mean.

Making apple buttter is not difficult, but it takes TIME!!!  This isn't something you can hurry through.  You really need the better part of a day from start to finish.  But oh, my is it ever worth it!!

I started with just over 13 pounds of Jonathan apples. 

Then I washed and peeled the apples, and sliced them using my Pampered Chef slicer.  I tried using the Pampered Chef slicer first and then peeling . . . but I didn't think it worked as well.  But you can do whatever works best for you.  Just peel all of the apples, take out the core, slice them up and throw them in a large pan on about medium heat. 

This is the apples when they first started cooking. 

And here, they've started to cook down a little bit.

This pictures was after about 45 minutes of cooking.  You want the apples to be very soft. 

Because, you're going to run them through this colander.

You can use whatever method you prefer.  I have a food mill, but frankly couldn't find it. (Hey, I gotta be honest!) So I used this old colander.  If you have an electric food grinder, I think that would work too.  You want the apples to be about the consistency of apple sauce once you run it through the food mill, or colander or grinder.  This is the most time consuming part of the process to me.  So I think I will probably look into some faster (i.e. electric) method of processing the apples next time I make apple butter.

Here are the apples after running them through the colander. 

To this you add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (regular vinegar will work just fine) and 5 pounds of sugar.  Yes, I said 5 pounds of sugar.  This is NOT a low calorie recipe!!  But the sugar acts as the "preservative" for the apple buttter.  And definitely is a big part of the flavor!

Stir the vinegar and sugar into the apples and put it in the oven at 325 degrees for 5 hours.  You will need to stir the mixture about once an hour. 

Here is the apple butter after an hour or so.

And here it is a couple of hours later.  Look at that beautiful color.  The apple butter will get darker, and thicker, the longer it cooks.  Which just makes it taste better!!

This is after 5 hours of cooking.  See how beautiful that looks.  And oh my you can't IMAGINE how my kitchen smelled!!!

Now, add 1/4 cup of "red hots" or as the store calls them now "cinnamon imperials."  Frankly I just used the whole package, which was nearly 1/2 cup.

After you add the red hots, stir everything again, and put it back in the oven for one more hour
 See that delicious apple butter and the little pieces of red hots?  Those will completely melt into the apple butter over the next hour. 

Now doesn't that just look DELICIOUS????  Seriously, if you have never made homemade apple butter I would encourage you to give it a whirl.  As I said, it is NOT difficult, but it does take some time.  But when you spread that apple butter over a piece of toast, or onto an English muffin, YUM YUM YUM.  You will KNOW it was worth every single second of your time!!! 
Again, being totally honest, it was very late when I finished putting the apple butter into the jars (it made 17 half-pints), and I completely forgot to take pictures.  I processed my jars in a water bath
for 10 minutes and then let them cool. The jars just look beautiful on the shelf, and I've already sampled the apple butter.  Delicious!!!  So go buy yourself some apples and give homemade apple butter a try.  I think you will be glad you did!!!


  1. Wish we had smell at vision!

    Looks wonderful. (I actually bought a jar of apple butter at Aldi's last week, I was so hungry for it). Nothing better than a toasted bagel with cream cheese and apple butter.

  2. Wow Robbin, that looks fabulous but I don't know if I could do it! You are quite the cook!
    And now I HAVE to comment on Alex's foot! Holy Toledo! That poor girl had one bad ankle/foot/leg! Coming from a Mom of 4 athletes as well....that is one of the worst I've seen! I ached myself just seeing that! Continuing to pray that it heals well. Such a long process. I fell down my staircase last year and know the "pain" and mine did NOT look anything like your poor baby's foot! She is quite the trooper!

  3. I used to make it over an open fire in a copper kettle. Talk about WORK! Now I make it on the stove.

  4. Boy do I need a food mill, I used
    my pastry cutter to work up my
    applebutter.I been married 42 years
    and my hushand gave me my first
    potato masher this year( yes i used
    my pastry cutter or fork to mash
    potatoes all these years!!!!)

  5. Hi again,
    I've been making my way through your blog today (just loving it btw). I just had to tell you that I'm so making this, hopefully this week! I love Apple Butter, it brings back such great memories of my "Mam-Maw". Sitting and eating some slathered on a piece of toast was just the best. When I smell Apple Butter it always reminds me of her. Isn't it funny how certain smells remind you of past-times?
    So thank you for this recipe, I can't wait to try it out.