An incredibly rich and old-fashioned flavored apple butter that makes itself while you are sleeping. This no-hassle recipe leaves the peels on so you have very minimal prep work (and can enjoy the extra health benefits of the peel). The deep brown caramelized color, thick consistency, and depth of flavor is only achievable through a low heat and lengthy cooking process. And boy, is this crock pot apple butter worth the wait! Use this apple butter like you would any other sweet spread (on bread, toast, muffins, scones, etc.)
And stay tuned – a delicious recipe using this marvelous apple butter is soon to follow!
My husband, Todd, and I have several annual harvesting traditions. For years now, starting when we were dating, we’ve gone wild blackberry picking each Summer. We now have two chest freezers so we gather as many as we can. Last year we picked 19 gallon freezer bags full!! We enjoyed healthy smoothies all year long. Another tradition is late summer/early autumn apple picking. A friend of ours owns a huge apple orchard and allows us to pick whatever we want. This year I’ve been making applesauce and apple butter to can. Our third and latest tradition, which has just started as of this week, is mushroom picking. We enjoyed our first harvest of beautiful wild chanterelle mushrooms just two days ago. Todd and I love harvesting nature’s bounties each season and we especially enjoy our time together – it’s such a great way to talk and connect. And it’s also a wonderful family activity for the kids.
The apple orchard is a fun place to visit. Two beautiful horses grace its premises, a brown and a white one.
Remember my post last week in which I praised Todd’s patience in letting me practice my photography on him? Yes, here are some examples.
I call this one “Horse Whisperer.” Such a noble, graceful looking horse, don’t you think?
Thanks for indulging me in another photo shoot, Todd.
So apple picking is always an enjoyable and successful endeavor.
And don’t think for a moment that those horses let us leave without enjoying some of our harvest! And that’s okay, we’re happy to share.
Whether you’re using apples picked from your tree or bought at a local store, this apple butter is sublime and so easy to make!
Note: The ideal time to start the apple butter is just before you go to bed on a night before your day off because for the first several hours it can cook without being stirred. When you get up in the morning, you can start stirring it every so often throughout the day.
The amount of sugar you use will depend on the sweetness of the apples. Ours were fairly tart. Adjust accordingly. You can start with less and add more toward the end.
Let’s get started!
Measure out the apples, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar.
Wash, quarter, and core the apples. Place them in a 7-quart slow cooker (if you don’t own one that large, simply half the recipe). Don’t worry about them turning brown – the apple butter is going to be brown anyway!
Add the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and cloves.
Pour in the apple cider and apple cider vinegar.
Give it a quick stir.
The ideal time to start the apple butter is just before you go to bed on a night before your day off because for the first several hours it can cook without being stirred. When you get up in the morning, you can start stirring it every so often throughout the day.
Cook the apple butter on the “low” setting. After about 20 hours the apple butter will look like this:
Use a blender stick to puree the apple butter until it’s smooth. I use and like the Cuisinart Smart Stick. Blender sticks are a great little appliance to have. Also perfect for pureeing creamed soups instead of having to pour the hot soup in a blender and deal with cleanup.
Alternatively though, you can (carefully!) pour the apple butter in a blender (will probably need to do it in batches) and puree it.
At this point, let the apple butter continue to cook – with the lid open – to further thicken it. Let it cook for 4 more hours, stirring occasionally. Taste it and add more brown sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
While the apple butter is still hot, ladle it into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, and process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. Store for up to a year. This recipe yields about 5 pints.
Alternatively, freeze or keep in the fridge in air-tight jars for at least a month. This apple butter also makes wonderful gifts!
- 6 lbs apples, stemmed, cored, cut into quarters
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2½ cups apple cider
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Place the apples in a 7-quart slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients. Give it a gentle stir.
- Cook the apples on the "low" setting for 20 hours, giving the mixture an occasional stir after the first few hours of cooking.
- After 20 hours, use a blender stick to puree the apple butter until smooth. Continue to cook, now with the lid open, for the remaining 4 hours to allow the apple butter to further thicken. At this point, taste and add more sugar if desired.
- While the apple butter is still hot, ladle it into hot sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace, and process the jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. The apple butter will store in a dark, cool place for up to a year. Alternatively, freeze or store in the fridge in air-tight jars for at least a month. Makes about 5 pints.
*The amount of sugar you use will depend on the sweetness of the apples. Adjust accordingly. You can start with less and add more toward the end.