Tomorrow is the first day of fall, and what better way to celebrate the leaves changing colors, the crisp cool nights and sweater weather…than with homemade apple butter.
I bought a box of apples during one of my Mennonite shopping trips. That poor box of apples sat in my kitchen the whole time while I was trying to recover (and still teach) from one bad sinus and ear infection. I finally started feeling like my usual self the end of last week. I know that everyone in my family are ecstatic that I am feeling better. I think I was a little complainy. Even the Princess (mom) told me I was a grouch….ouch!
Feeling better, I started sorting through the apples. They had sat in that box for over two weeks. Some were ready for the compost pile, some were ready for the chickens (and they loved them) and the rest were ready to meet THE SQUEEZO.
This is a picture of the squeeze doing some magic on the apples.
This is the what it looks like all put together.
It took three college degrees and a you tube video to figure out how to put it together. Oldest Daughter who does not cook, watched the video and in about 5 minutes had it all put together. I pretend that I can’t figure it out, so she will keep putting it together for me. (please do not tell her) hehe.
Well anywho, let me tell you about this contraption they call The Squeezo. I guess it has been around for about 100 years. They are pretty pricey if you buy one brand new (over $200). I was able to buy a used one from a retired teacher about a hour drive away for about $50. I had so much fun talking with that retire teacher, I bought a pressure cooker from her too. I need to have oldest daughter watch some you tube videos to teach me how to use it too. ; )
I love this squeezo (food mill). I do not have to peel or core my apples for apple sauce and for apple butter. I think I can do jam with the pureed apples too, but I have not tried that yet. I did use it for peach jam and it worked great. Though I used the smaller strainer and I got more juice than pulp. The peach jam will be on another post…promise!
You load steamed apples that have cooled in the hopper at the top. Push the apples down into the mill with a wooden mallet and turn the handle. The apple puree comes out of the holes in the strainer and the peeling, core and seeds come out the middle.
Here is the picture of the peelings and stuff. We were able to get about 10 cups of puree done in less than 20 minutes. Woot Woot!
I found the most fabulous recipe for apple butter!!
It is from a website called Taste of Southern. Just click on the link and you will find step by step pictures and recipe.
I cooked the apple butter in the crock pot overnight. The original recipe cooks the apple butter on top of the stove and that is fine too.
After about 11 hours it cooked down to about half the original amount.
So, let me tell you a little about this recipe.
You will need some sort of food mill, or food sieve.
I took the stems off the apples. I cut them in fourths and put them in a big pot.
I put in 3 cups of water and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. I had read on many reviews that people prefer the taste of their apple butter if they use apple cider vinegar instead of using apple cider.
I cooked the apples until they got soft.
I scooped out the apples and drained. I let them cool and bit and then put them through the food mill.
For every ONE cup of apple puree you need 1/2 cup of sugar.
The FIRST cup of apple puree use 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Then after the first 1/2 cup of brown sugar, start using regular sugar.
ok….so now that you have that down, here is the recipe.
Adapted from Taste of Southern Website
5 pounds of apples
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon grown cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lemon, zest plus juice (I used 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
Pinch of salt
Wash and slice apples into quarters and put them in large stock pot.
Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup apple cider vinegar.
Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes or until soft.
Scoop out apples and run them through a food mill or sieve.
Measure the amount of puree you now have.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to each cup of apple puree, adjusting amount as needed, starting with the brown sugar and the remainder as white sugar. You need 1/2 cup of sugar to each 1 cup of puree.
(Crock pot method)
Put the apple puree and the sugar in the crock pot and stir until the sugar as dissolved. Add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice and zest (I used 2 tablespoons lemon juice instead). Add in a pinch of salt.
Stir well to incorporate.
Put crock pot on low for 10 hours. I used a skewer to prop my lid up a bit so the steam could escape and let the apple butter cook down.
Cook until you get the desired thickness. (I like mine thick).
Now, when it is done you can freeze it or water bath process it.
I water bath processed mine for 10 minutes.
I put one jar in the fridge and the rest is still on the counter. I looked in the fridge tonight and half the jar is already eaten…..
I think that is a sign that is GOOD!
I was able to make 5 pints of apple butter when my crock pot is pretty full to start off with.
I know this was a LONG post and if you are still reading.
Because now you know all the secrets to this recipe!
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