I have been in such a mood for fall … the smells, the breezes, the chilly temps, the flavors. The thought crossed my mind that I might have gone a bit overboard when I noticed I had accumulated two hundred pounds of pumpkins, dozens (and dozens) of apples, and a full 3 pounds of cranberries.
I found creative ways to use those pumpkins, luckily, so that left me with apples and cranberries. I made a delicious apple-cranberry cake that I’ll be posting later this week, and our annual apple dehydrating-fest is slated to begin this weekend, but that still left me with loads of apples that I felt must be put to another good use.
Applesauce! “Yes, that’s it,” I thought, “I’ll make applesauce.” So, I peeled and cored 8 apples, got out my crockpot, and prepared for a day of slow apple cooking with an eye toward yummy applesauce.
At some point later in the day though, I noticed I still had 3 jars of organic unsweetened applesauce in my pantry … but … I was out of apple butter! Change in plans.
I added some sugar and spices and cooked those apples all day long and into the night – voilà! Yummy apple butter with far less sugar than most recipes.
My next task will be to make more (we’re almost out already!), but try some sugar alternatives and see how that goes. I’ll keep you posted, or let me know if you’ve tried already!
In the meantime though, enjoy this practically-does-it-by-itself, homemade apple butter recipe, and keep the taste of fall alive!
- 7-8 apples (I used a mixture of Fuji, Granny Smith & Gala) — approximately 4 – 5 lbs. (weight before coring) – (approximately 3 – 31/2 lbs. after coring and peeling)
- 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar or 1/4 cup palm sugar (to taste)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1/4 salt
Wash, peel and core the apples.
Cut into quarters and place in a crockpot or large stockpot with 1/2 inch of water in the bottom. Cook covered on low for several hours, testing with a fork until the apples begin to fall apart (stir periodically, especially if using a stockpot).
When they are able to be easily mashed with a fork or potato masher, break the large chunks apart and add sugar and spices. Depending on the apples you use, more or less sugar may be needed (more tart apples require more sugar for balance). Continue to cook until there are no more large chunks of apple and the mixture has turned a rich, dark brown color. Use a whisk or hand blender to purée the apples until completely smooth.
Uncover the pot and continue to cook until the mixture has reduced to the consistency of apple butter. Remove from heat or turn off the crockpot and allow to cool before canning or storing in sealed containers.
Enjoy with a delicious loaf of your favorite fresh, gluten-free bread!