(Chef Ron, this one is for you!)
‘Tis the season- I’ve been collecting beautiful leaves, bought a humongo pumpkin to put on the hay bale out front, and have a bowl of squash sitting in the middle of my table.
I bought beautiful apples- SweeTango, Honeycrisp, and Haralson.
So I studied. I searched the internet – to study canning apples, to study the apple butter recipes/ingredients, and the techniques.
I think I came up with a great mixture of all three to develop what I wanted: a tangy, not-overly-sweet, yummy apple butter!
If you’ve got apples that are good candidates for canning (Haralson, Jonathan, McIntosh…) Here’s how you can do it at home.
- ~15 cored apples, 1 cup apple cider, brown or white sugar, a bit of salt, a lemon, and spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom)
- a dutch oven (for the apples); a small saucepan (filled with water and simmering- add the lids and bands for later) and a stock pot (filled with water and boiling)
- canning jars (this recipe yielded about 4 8-oz jars) with new lids and bands; and a jar lifter or other way to get the hot jars out of the boiling water
- a potato ricer (or you can peel the apples) and a stick/immersion blender (or food processor or blender)
- a measuring or other cup with a spout and a spoon
1. Place your apples and cider into the Dutch oven, covered, over med/low heat. Simmer and stir every ten minutes until mushy (about 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, place your jars, spoons and spouted cup into the boiling stockpot for 10 minutes to sanitize them- as you don’t want any nasty bacteria to get into your jars! When 10 minutes is up, set them aside on clean towels for later use.
3. When the apples are mushy, I use a potato ricer to break them down into a finer texture and also get rid of the apple peels (into a separate bowl and then moving them back into the Dutch oven). If you have peeled your apples, you can skip this step.
4. Add a bit of lemon zest, a tablespoon or so of freshly squeezed lemon juice, spices (I used a pinch of cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice; and then just a tiny tad of cardamom and nutmeg); and sugar to taste (I used about a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar). I also added a bit of canning salt, to brighten the taste of all the rest. My suggestion: Add your spices and sugar gradually, so you can adjust to your taste. Take a spoon each time you add something and taste a bit. When it is to your liking, move to the next step!
5. Simmer your apple mixture until the apple butter can stand on a spoon on its own. If you put the apple butter on a spoon and you can see liquid separate on the edge, it’s not quite ready yet.
6. Once this is done, you can can your apple butter! Put your apple butter into the container witht he spout. Pour it into the jars, filling to the base of the jar head. Clean the rim and threads of the jar.
7. Take one lid and one band from your simmering small saucepan and put onto the filled jar, tightening the band (not too too tight.) Complete for all of your jars.
8. Put filled jars into the stockpot of boiling water, on top of a grid or rack that will keep them from touching the bottom of the pot. Boil for 5 minutes (or 10 if you are extra careful).
9. Remove from the water with your jar lifter, and cool on the clean towel. You should hear the lids ‘ping’, meaning they are done!
10. Let sit for a day, undisturbed.
11. Test the seals, if the lid is concave, and when you ping it gently it doesn’t move and doesn’t sound ‘hollow’- you’re set!
If you have some leftover that didn’t fit in the jars, test it on your favorite bread, scone, pork, in yogurt… and ENJOY!!!!