How to make apple butter

Making old-fashioned apple butter

Apple Butter — Pureed fruit which is combined with sugar(s), vinegar, and spices; then cooked very slowly into a velvety, smooth, spreadable consistency, much like a jam.

Apple butter is a wonderful, aromatic, sweet fruit preserve that is made with lots of fruit, some kind of sugar, and fragrant spices to make one of the most favored fruit-spreads of all time. There is no real butter in apple butter however the thick, soft, and smooth consistency of the finished product is reminiscent of spreading butter.

The preserving of apples by making apple butter dates back to colonial America. All that is needed to create this «apple velvet» is good ingredients, time, and a longing to connect to America’s past by making this version of apple butter; using the techniques and ingredients of the past.


Step 1

Prepare the apples

Wash the apples, examine each one for imperfections, remove stems and cut into quarters and then cut into chunks.

Cut out any worm holes or bruised spots — discard the whole apple if it has any mold visible.

Step 2

Cook and puree

Place the apple chunks in a deep stock or soup pot and add water to just cover. Simmer until apples are tender but not mushy.

Place the food mill over a large bowl or over the dutch oven/roaster. (The food mill has legs that clasp the rim of the bowl/pan.)

Remove the cooked apples from the water — discard the water. Run the apples through the Foley Food Mill in small batches.

Step 3

Add sugar and spices

Preheat oven to 300oF.

Place the pureed apples into the pot or roaster for the cooking process, bring to a boil over medium meat — stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add the sugar and spices and stir well. Put the lid on the roaster or dutch oven and place the mixture into the oven.

Cook in the oven for four to six hours — stir the apple butter every hour and check for scorching or burning. Don’t worry it will be fine.

Cook until the apple butter is dark brown (from the cooking process and the spices) and it is a smooth, spreadable consistency.

Step 4

Put in jars and process

Put the canner onto the stove top and fill to half with hot water — bring this to a boil.

Pour the hot apple butter into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Place hot lids on jars, apply the screw bands and adjust by hand to tighten.

Place filled jars into the canner-rack and gently lower into the hot water. Add water if needed to cover all jars with at least one inch of water.

Bring to a boil and process in the hot water bath according to manufacturers instructions and your altitude.

After the jars are processed, remove from canner-rack using rubberized canning tongs and place on a folded towel to cool, do not allow jars to clink together, they might break or crack.

While the jars of apple butter are cooling they will seal, listen for the ping-ping-ping as they seal — a good sign!

Things Needed
• 4 lbs. cored, pureed apples (Do not peel)
• Foley Food Mill (Available at most hardware stores)
• 1 1/2 cups apple cider
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for each measured cup of pureed apple, 4 1/2 — 5 cups
• 4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp. cloves
• Long handled wooden spoon
• Small roaster pan with lid or dutch oven with oven-proof lid
• Funnel for filling jars
• 4 pint or 8 half-pint glass jelly jars with 2 piece screw type lids
• Water-bath canner with rack and lid
• Tongs or jar lifter tongs
• Thick towels

Tips & Warnings
• Sweeter varieties of apples require less sugar and tart apples require more
• Do not peel the apples, the pectin comes from the skin/peelings as the apples cook.
• Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes at an altitude up to 1,000 feet, 10 minutes from 1,000 — 6,000 feet. Add 5 minutes processing time at each altitude for quart jars. (Processing times are based on guidelines provided by the USDA National Food Safety Database.)


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