Wednesday, October 29, 2014

apple butter.

If you are anything like me, apple picking means returning home with more apples then one could possibly eat in a reasonable amount of time.  This is not necessarily a bad problem to have especially when there is a slew of apple items you can make (pie! crisp! pork chops with apples!).

But sometimes you long for something else and that is where apple butter comes into play.

Apple butter is not pretty.  It looks like brown mush (no point in stating anything but the obvious) . It's nothing like the beautiful peach jam of summer or strawberry jam of spring.  But! What it lacks for in looks it more then makes up for in flavor.

Apple butter is dreamy.  It's the definition of fall and its everything I want slathered on my peanut butter sandwiches this time of year (best sandwich ever involves chunky peanut butter, apple butter, chia seeds and a sprinkle of sea salt - DYNAMITE).  Cubes of apple are cooked with apple cider and spices. As the apples cook, they begin to thicken to create a cross between apple sauce and jam that may in fact be the greatest condiment ever.  EVER.

Fall, I love you.

Apple Butter 
Recipe from Apt 2B. Baking

Yield - about 2 pints of finished butter

2 pounds good eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces (but really any apples work)
½ - 2 cups apple cider
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon

In your biggest, heaviest pot combine the apples and enough cider to cover them. Bring to a simmer and cook the apples until tender. A bit of foam will form on the surface that should be skimmed off, it's okay if you can't get it all.

When the apples are tender, remove the pot from the heat and puree the mixture until it is smooth (an immersion blender is the best tool for this). Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice.

Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and begins to pop and bubble, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Make sure to watch the pot carefully and stir often in the last 1/2 hour to prevent scorching. I would usually tell you here to cook the butter until it reaches 220º, but I couldn't get mine above 210º and the set turned out perfect. Ladle the hot apple butter into your prepared jars.  

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