If you missed yesterday’s post, I wrote about how to make apple sauce. Today, I’ll be telling you how to take the apple sauce and turn it into apple butter. I love canning apple butter for presents – it’s gift that everyone loves!
Once the apples have cooked down, I dump them into our blender. (You can use a food processor as well.) I puree the apple sauce for about one minute – just enough time to make it smooth.
Then, I transfer the pureed sauce back into the crockpot. At this point, you add spices and sugar to your taste. I suggest 1-2 cups of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and cloves. If you prefer unsweetened apple butter, just omit the sugar – it tastes terrific! Let the apple butter cook on low for another 3 hours, stirring every half hour.
In the meantime, wash your canning jars with hot, soapy water. I recommend using 4 oz. jelly jars, if you’re planning on making Christmas presents. (This time, I used pint size jars, because my family in Hawaii loves apple butter, and 4 ounces just isn’t enough!) But, as a warning, 1/2 a bushel of apples made only 6 pints of apple butter – so, unless you have tons of time or will be giving it to only a few beloved people, you might want to use smaller jars.
Next, to sterilize the jars, I arrange all the jars in my canning pot, and fill the pot with water, until it is 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Then, I bring the water to a rolling boil and let the jars boil away for 30 minutes. (This might be a little long for some of you – it’s just habit. )
Once they are finished sterilizing, I pull one jar out of the pot.
Pour in the apple butter (leaving 1/4 inch at the top), use a knife to make make sure all the air pockets are gone, wipe the rim with a paper towel, stick a lid on (we sterilize these as well), screw on the ring, and hurriedly put it back into the pot.
Once you fill all the jars in the pot, make sure the water level is still above the jars. Cover the pot, and let the jars boil away for 10-15 minutes. Then, pull the jars out, and put them on a cleared counter. (They should sit for at least 24 hours, before you move them.) You will hear loud popping sounds as the jars seals – always a great sign! And, finally, your work is finished! Now, you just have to wait to Christmas to distribute them to all your lucky friends. In the past, I’ve baked homemade bread to go along with a small jar of apple butter – and, it’s always been a hit! Now, it’s your turn! I’d love to hear what apple treats you love to make!
For those of you who are new to canning, I recommend reading Ball’s tutorial first or perusing the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. I am, by no means, an expert – and, because of the potential safety hazards of canning, I urge you to do your research beforehand!