There is something incredibly comforting about the smell of apples and cinnamon in your home. Add some friends and laughter and you have the perfect plan for a good old fashioned homemade apple butter making party!
Some friends of mine came together Sunday afternoon for a good old-fashioned apple butter-making party.
There is nothing, I mean nothing, like spreading homemade apple butter on a slice of warm toast in the morning or swirling it into a steaming bowl of oatmeal.
With the holidays approaching (egad) it never hurts to have a few jars of homemade preserves on hand for gifts of gratitude. So, armed with peelers, jars, canning equipment and 30 pounds of Mt. Hood Fuji apples, we got to work.
I had never canned before, but my friends had, so it was a great learning experience for me. I don’t think I would have had the guts to do it on my own (I have a vague memory of a jar of freshly canned tomato sauce exploding in the kitchen of my childhood).
The classic recipe came from the red gingham-covered Better Homes & Gardens cookbook that called for basic ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, apple cider and apples. We sat around my old red dinette table, peeling, coring, slicing, drinking wine, noshing and gabbing (nothin’ like it).
Seven hours later…we had 48 half-pint jars of creamy apple goodness. Yep, it took awhile (good thing we like one another). Most of the time we just sat around waiting for either the apples to boil down and soften or the mixture to simmer and thicken.
The actual canning part went pretty quickly. In assembly line fashion, one of us filled the jars, one wipe them clean and pulled freshly-sterilized jars from the dish washer, and one put on the lids. Five minutes in the hot-water bath, et voila, the best apple butter you will ever have.
I think altogether we spent $40 on ingredients and extra jars, which comes out to about 83 cents a jar. Money savings aside, it was a wonderful way to preserve some of the bounty of Oregon, stock our cabinets and gift bags with a tasty spread, and enjoy the company of good friends.
Homemade Apple Butter Recipe
The recipe below is an adaptation of the one we found on BH&G. We made a WHOLE LOT of apple butter as we split it among 3 of us and wanted some to give to friends and family.
The recipe below is a smaller amount – but if you need more like we did – just double or triple the ingredients.
Makes approximately 4 cups of apple butter depending on how much you cook it down.
- 2 pounds cooking apples (tart variety works best, we used Mt. Hood Fuji apples)
- 2 cups apple cider or juice
- 3/4 cups white sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1-2 cups light brown sugar – add to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- pinch of ground cloves
- Wash and core apples then slice into quarters.
- In a large pot add the apples, apple cider/juice, granulated sugar and lemon juice and bring pot to boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until apples are tender – usually about 30 minutes.
- Remove mixture from heat and run the mixture through a food mill. Discard any left over elements like seeds.
- Place mixture back in your pot on medium-low heat.
- Add brown sugar – start small and add more to your preferred sweetness.
- Add additional spices and allow to simmer. Stir occasionally.
- Remove when the sauce is thick and can hold a shape – this is a personal preference so keep an eye on it until it hits a desired consistency.
What If I Do Not Have A Food Mill?
If you do not have a food mill on hand, you can use a mixer or hand mash the apples – but you should absolutely remove the skin before you use the recipe above.
The food mill easily takes that skin and makes it a part of the apple butter, but other options do not do it as well.
Can I Freeze My Apple Butter?
You sure can! Just make sure you let it cool off then pour it into freezer safe containers – I have used Ziploc bags to do this! Seal tightly and place in freezer. We recommend storing it in the freeze for no longer than a year for best taste.
One thing that is VERY important is to make sure you are clean and sanitary – especially if you are giving some of your apple butter to friends and family.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation has some great canning information here to help you.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Garden apple butter recipe.