Sunday, November 16, 2008

Easy Apple Butter

I made apple butter! I am so excited! Before we came home from the mountains (eastern Kentucky) on Wednesday, my uncle brought us a big box of apples. I had no idea what kind they were, other than the kind that grows on trees, as evidenced by the long stems and leaves still attached to many of them. I was not sure what to do with all of them, but with everything else I had to do, and with the condition of my home after a crazy few weeks (think snow globe, all shook up), I needed a quick and easy way to get these yummy orbs preserved. So I went to the internet.

I initially found a recipe that called for making apple butter using pectin. I thought that was for jelly, but being the inexperienced country girl that I am, I just went out and bought pectin. But then I went searching for how to freeze the rest of the apples and found directions for making apple butter for the freezer. The fact that the title contained the word "easy" caught my attention.

The recipe:

5 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled and finely chopped (I did not peel. I washed really well and chopped.)
4 cups sugar, more or less depending on apple sweetness
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Place apples in slow cooker. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Pour over apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally. Stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking. Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. Makes 4 pints.

I did not schedule the start time well, so mine cooked for about 14 hours. I was not willing to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them, but there was so much liquid in the crockpot when I went to bed that I was not concerned. When I got up, I removed the lid and cooked for about 2 more hours to let the liquid evaporate. I was convinced that I had way overcooked this and no one would touch it with a ten foot pole. I was wrong! My family loved it. Even Mark, who is not crazy about such concoctions, loved it. I made biscuits (okay, from a can...) at lunch so they could enjoy it. I was so proud. The only thing I would do differently is to add less sugar. I think it is a bit too sweet, but I heard no complaints.

As the recipe stated, this made about 4 pints. I spooned it into 4 of those disposable Rubbermaid containers with the twist lids. One went into the refrigerator and the other 3 into the freezer. I hope the freezer does not change their consistency.

Sidenote: After putting the apples in the crockpot, I still had a lot left in the box. I did not have time to make applesauce or anything else, so I simply sliced them and put them in freezer bags. I have FIFTEEN quarts. My freezer is full. I cannot buy anything else that must be kept frozen until we consume the apples and zucchini. Suggestions, anyone?

Second sidenote: Is anyone else's body still operating on Daylight Savings Time? As anyone who has ever been in my presence after the sun goes down can tell you, I am not a night person. If I had my way, I would go to bed at 9:00 each night and get up at 3:30 or 4:00. I love, love, love the quiet and productivity of the wee hours, but my mind stops functioning when I am tired at night. Since the time change, though, I want to go to bed after dinner. I bath the girls and get their pajamas on, ready to read and tuck them in, and the clock says 6:48. I fell asleep in front of the computer while Mark rocked Hope the other night. It was 8:00. I do not remember having this much trouble adjusting in the past. Maybe I'm just getting old. But I am not having trouble waking up in the morning!

Time to get ready for church. Have a blessed day!


1 comment:

Bonnie the Boss said...

I put mine in my crock pot and I love how yummy it makes my house smell.