Thursday, August 28, 2014

Crock-Pot Apple Butter

I don't know what has gotten into me!  I made Apple Butter this week y'all!!  It must be because Fall is arriving soon/my husband LOVES apple butter/the fact that I was given a two pounds of fresh apples from an orchard that I decided to just whip up some apple butter the other day.  I have never made apple butter so, I had no idea what I was doing.  I turned to Pinterest of course for a recipe!  When in doubt, Pinterest has a recipe for everything!

Now, Pinterest gave me a variety of recipes for apple butter.  For the most part, they were all pretty similar, so I am sharing the recipe I put together from multiple recipes I found on Pinterest.

Peel, core, and quarter all of the apples.  I used about half fresh apples straight off the apple orchard trees and half store bought Fuji apples that I already had.  

Place the peeled apples in the crock-pot first and then dump the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and water on top.  

(I made the mistake of buying whole cloves as you can see versus ground cloves.  They are not going to mix at the end, so I ended up picking them all out after I cooked them in so that the flavor was still there! Buy ground cloves!!)

Put the lid on and cook on low for 10 hours.  

Most recipes I found suggested cooking the apples overnight.  But the cinnamon and apples and nutmeg make your home smell SO good when this is cooking!  These scents really reminded of me Fall now!  So I suggest starting this in the morning and letting it fill your home with its aromas throughout the day! 

This is what your apples with look like after 10 hours of cooking on low - rich dark brown color

{ If you like your apple butter a little thicker, remove the crock-pot lid after the 10 hours and continue to cook off the excess water until it thickens.  I did not do that, so you can see mine is a little watery. }

Use a hand mixer to blend the apples to a smooth consistency.  I like my apple butter a little more on the lumpy side than too runny!  This is where you can taste it and see if you need any more cinnamon or spices.  I added a couple shakes of "pumpkin pie spice" just for the heck of it!  

Now what?  What are you going to do with all of this apple butter!?!  

You can refrigerate the apple butter and enjoy it/can it/or gift it - like I did!

I had some random Ball jars around the house, so I just used what I had and filled them up to gift.  I found a cute little mason jar label from Cottage-Industrialist for my Apple Butter.  It is a free download for all of your canning needs!

Instead of printing the blank labels and hand writing the "apple butter" on each label, I just opened the download in Powerpoint and put my text on each jar.  I made sure to include the date I made the Apple Butter so my recipients could remember how long it is has been in the refrigerator or freezer.

If you are keeping it to enjoy, you have a 2-3 week shelf life in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze the apple butter in Ball jars.  Or "can" the apple butter to enjoy year round!

I thought about really 'canning' some of the apple butter to store for a longer period of time and found a great, easy tutorial here, but then I decided to just gift it to some of my family!  Since I ended up not canning the extra apple butter, I haven't tried this method, but Southern Plate's tutorial does look super easy and it doesn't require any fancy "canning" utensils.  Just items you already have in your home, except maybe the jars.  I like tutorials like these that have easy step-by-step instructions with pictures!

I had no idea Apple Butter would be SO easy to make!  And in a smaller crock-pot, you could easily make a small individual batch of this to keep for yourself.  I will definitely be making this again in the fall and winter - even if it is just to make my house smell amazing for a day!!

Enjoy your yummy Apple Butter on hot biscuits, toast, or scones -- morning or night!!

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