My good friend over at Beth Fish Reads hosts this wonderful weekly meme where we can share what we are cooking. Many times I have found a new recipe to try or even planned right then and there that what I read about was what I was making for dinner.
Today I thought I would share with you the fall tradition I have of making Apple Butter from our apple trees. As there are lots of pictures, I am also placing this post under Saturday Snapshot (another excellent meme). The main connection I have to the whole process is this:
I am the proud owner of my Great Grandmother’s chinois sieve and pestle. This really is the selling point for making apple butter at home (well… that and all the apples). I love taking these items out of storage.
And… I do have apple trees.
It is Tree #3 I have been working off of. While I am waiting for the first frost before I pick the apples, Tree #3 is my crazy tree who never has an off year, is ALWAYS loaded down with apples and breaks it’s branches. And currently had dropped a lot of apples to the ground so I have been snatching them up.
So I have been making apple butter. I like it because it is fairly simple – no need to peel, seed, etc… here is my basic recipe handed down and perhaps tweaked a little be me….
You will need…
canning jars – small jelly style up to a pint
canning lids and rings
large pot (canners are good)
apples (I use from our trees but any hard apple will do – Granny Smith apples work great!)
apple cider vinegar
You will need 4 pounds of apples per batch. I usually double the batches. Cut off any bad spots on your apples and then cut in quarters and don’t worry about seeds, stem, core. Weigh your apples and when you have the right amount bring to the stove and place in a large pot (the big canners work great for this).
Once apples are in the large pot, add two cups of water and one cup of apple cider vinegar to every 4 pounds of apples. Cover and bring to boil for twenty minutes.
After apples have cooked soft, with a slotted spoon, scoop the apples out of the liquid and place the sieve over a pot or bowl and then put apples into the *sieve. Use the pestle to squish the good sauce out of the apples and keep doing this until all that remains in the sieve is the skin, seeds, and stems. Continue until you have done this with all the cooked apples. Then take a spatula and grab the excess sauce off the outside of the sieve.
Add to your apples – 1/2 -3/4 cup sugar to each cup of apples. I kind of do this to taste and you should too – some people like a sweeter product than others. I am closer to the 1/2 cup sugar to each cup of apple sauce, sometimes less. Add 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon all spice, 1 teaspoon, cloves, and 2 tablespoons vanilla to each 4 pound batch you are making. Stir all of this well.
Over med low heat start to cook your apples using a wide bottomed pan. The point of the cooking is to evaporate all the excess moisture our of the apples so the wider the pan bottom the faster this processes can be. I use two large deep fry pans. Cook this way for 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring often until apples are thick and if you place some on spoon and put in freezer for a minute the sauce does not get runny.
Sterilize your jars. I put mine in a clean sink and pour hot boiling water over them.
Scoop apple butter (yup…. it is apple butter now!) into the jars leaving 1/4 inch space to the top. Place a lid and ring over each jar. and leave to cool on a towel on your counter top. You should hear the lids pop as they seal.
I know there are easier ways to make apple butter these days, but using the same process that my Great Grandmother used and knowing that her hands used that pestle as did my own mother brings me a little happiness.
Apple butter is excellent on toast, and I like it with cottage cheese. It is also good on pork chops and makes for a wonderful gift.
Just a reminder.. Banned Book Week starts September 27th and we have a lot of fun lined up for this annual event. Click on the meme pic or the link above to find out more!