Can you really get more “holiday” than the scent of apples and cinnamon filling your home? Okay, maybe the scent of cookies and pie does this, too, but I love the spicy scents of the holiday season. Just for the record, I consider the “holidays” to last from November to about February. As long as the weather is cool, it’s still the holidays. I’m in the South, folks. I make this time of year last as long as possible in my head because 1) I love the holidays and 2) Summers here are pure torture. Eighty degree Christmases nearly make me break down and cry, and it’s happened many times in my lifetime. Then again, it has snowed in Alabama in March. I think it was 1991, but it happened. Okay, now that you know just exactly how I feel about our bipolar weather, back to the apple butter…
- 6 pounds of apples (I use Fuji) peeled, sliced, cored, and diced into about 1-inch pieces
- 2.5 cups packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
- Place the diced apples in the slow cooker.
- Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to the apples, and mix well to combine. (You may have to do this step in a large mixing bowl before adding to the slow cooker.)
- Pour the juice or cider over the apples.
- Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.
- When the apples are nice and soft, use either an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor to blend the entire mixture into a smooth consistency. Work in batches if you need to. You can even mash them and whisk them if they’re soft enough and you like more texture.
- Let this mixture cook in the crock pot for an additional 8 hours or so. For the last 2 hours, tilt the lid slightly to allow steam to escape. This will thicken the mixture. Keep the slow-cooker on low because it can scorch.
- Once the apple butter is at the desired consistency, let the mixture cool a bit, and place in an airtight jar or container.
- This should last for about a month in the fridge. You can also put it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it until ready to use. It should last for about a year this way.
- You can also can the apple butter and it should last about 18 months in a cool, dark pantry.
This recipe makes about 7 cups of apple butter.
I don’t know about you, but I can eat apple butter any time of year. Apples are generally available during all seasons, so this recipe is nice go-to year round. I like to spread mine on toast, bagels, biscuits, muffins, or crackers. You can also spoon some on top of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, or oatmeal. It’s also a great addition to pork chops or pork tenderloin.
This apple butter makes a great homemade gift. I love getting gifts that are consumable. I don’t have the space or desire for knick-knacks or doo-dads. I treat people the way I like to be treated, so I love giving the gift of food. 😉 I gave this as a few gifts this year, and it was very well-received. Place the apple butter in a jar or other well-sealed, air-tight container, and wrap some ribbon around the top for a nice touch. Also, it’s always good to label your container with the contents and the date. You can handwrite a cute label for a personal touch or even print them out on your computer.
What is your favorite way to enjoy apple butter? Let us know in the comments.