We’re on a bit of an apple kick right now if you couldn’t tell! I’m not sure why apple butter isn’t more popular and easy to find because when it’s good…it is SO good. I would say my biggest complaint with some apple butters, though, is that they’re too sweet! Our recipe has half the amount of sugar of any other recipe we looked at during our apple butter research. I think a good apple butter is a fine balance of sweet, tart, and tangy and this recipe hits all those notes. We used Granny Smith apples, apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, and a touch of lemon juice to create a complex flavor that literally tasted like Autumn on a spoon. The prep for this recipe is quick but be prepared to have it cooking low and slow on your stovetop for most of the afternoon…it’s worth it though! If you’re wondering what to use apple butter for the sky’s the limit…try it on toast, cornbread, or in oatmeal…I just had some on my pancakes this morning and it was delicious!
Apple Butter Recipe
Modified from this recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-3 hours
Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.
4 lbs of good cooking apples (we used Granny Smith), peeled and cored
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 wide 8-quart pan (we used a Le Creuset pan)
1. Place the apples into a large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Scoop or pour the apple mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the pot and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add a dash of salt, the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste.
3. Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer (about 4-5 hours!) as stirring makes the evaporation go more quickly.
4. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.