Apple Butter – Sugar Free and Pure Goodness

applepickingfrontIts that time again. The apple orchards are swimming with little beings putting on their tallest stretch to pluck the perfect juicy red and ripe apple at the tippy top of the tree! Leaves are crimson, the air is crisp and skies are blue. Its the time of year I always feel most grateful for all of our abundance. 
Jonathan and I set out to pick a jonapplepicking1few baskets of the most delicious apples. For our recipe we chose cameo apples. When you cut them the juice literally runs out!

APPLE ORCHARD

appleslicerI had gone out a few days before and bought new canning jars. I bought a dozen quart and a dozen pint. And its a good thing. Little did I know that the same day my neighbor, Larry, also went apple picking at a different orchard. Late that afternoon he stopped by to deliver a huge 20 lb bag of golden delicious apples to add to my 10 lbs of cameos. We’ll be set for a while and I know one thing that will surely be on the thanksgiving table!

So we started with our apple butter. We sliced 6 lbs of the cameos and seasoned them with cinnamon, clove and ginger. applesauceingredientsIt was a bit late in the day to do this in the slow cooker as I had planned. The slow cooker takes approximately 6 hours for applesause and an additional 6 hours for apple butter. Fortunately I have a slow cooker that can be used on a stove top or on the warmer. (Which I can not recommend strongly enough) The one that I use is the Versatility by West Bend. Mine is similar to the one at the link. (not an affiliate.) If you don’t want to use a slow cooker you can simmer it very low on the stove but be sure to watch it. I would imagine it would be done in about 2 to 3 hours for applesauce cooked slow and 4 maybe 4 hours for the apple butter. These are estimates because I haven’t done it.
cookingapples

I started it on the stove top for about 40 minutes or so at a very low simmer and moved the pot directly to the slow cooker base to finish cooking. I was surprised to see how much it had cooked down when it was time to switch to the slow cooker. The apples were fairly broken down. I chose to leave the skin on because I am going to be using an immersion blender which will break them up and add extra goodness and fiber. I have included the recipe below along with the canning method I used. IN-JOY!!
applesinpot

The Finished Product!
The Finished Product!

Apple Butter:
6 lbs of apples (or just fill a 4 qt pot)

2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup of water

I washed the apples and used an apple corer slicer to slice them up. Jon added the ingredients and I set it to simmer for the first 45 minutes. Make sure the lid is cracked. There is a lot of water in apples and you want it to start to dehydrate a bit. After that I moved it to the heating plate. I wound up letting it cook, with the lid cracked, for about 8 hours, stirring it occasionally. At that point you can grab a stick blender and get busy blending it until its smooth. Honestly it only took me a minute or two till it was like silk.
As I mentioned I was canning ours this year. I was really surprised to see that the apples cooked down so much I only got about 4 1/2 pints to jar.
Here is a quick run down of the jarring process:
Wash all of the jars and the lids and put them in boiling water to sterilize. Take them out and fill them with the hot apple butter leaving about a half inch or so of head space. Put the lids on and tighten but do not over tighten. They will start to seal right away due to the hot glass and hot apple butter. In a deep pan place the jars into a water bath making sure there is about 1 inch of water covering the tops of the jars. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and voila! Your done!
And once you eat this stuff you will never be the same!!