As the autumn leaves turn vibrant colors of red and yellow, it reminds me that the apple picking season is well underway. We have about a 2 month span to collect, eat, and preserve anything we can using fresh picked apples from a local orchard. Besides snacking on slices of crisp apples (dipped in caramel or peanut butter), our favorite apple recipe is hands down our Homemade Crock Pot Apple Butter.
We live about one hour from a large Amish community, and this is where I was first introduced to the succulent taste of apple butter. Nothing could compare to the sweetness of the apple spread on a piece of warm toast. I decided then that I had to learn to make it on my own. So after many attempts at various recipes, this one is by far the most delicious, and least time-consuming. As we all know, this time of the year the days go by quickly. The garden has to have its final picking, the soil has to be prepared for next year, the kids are deep into their studies and athletics, and of course, there is less and less sunlight every day. Now is the time to pull out that crock pot that has had its summer off, and put it to good use – even for Apple Butter.
6lbs of apples (peeled, cored, sliced) **weight before peeling**
4 cups of sugar
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Place all ingredients into a large crock pot. Turn on high for 1 hour, then turn to low for an additional 10-11 hours. Uncover and cook for 1 hour longer on low to thicken.
Put through a sieve to smooth out. Makes 4-5 pints. Freeze or can (10 minutes in a hot water bath).
Hint: Tart apples are best to use – Jonathan, McIntosh, Winesap, Cortlands, and Gala are just a few of the varieties that we find best for making good apple butter. Local orchards are usually a great resource as well – and are usually more than glad to tell you what varieties they grow are best for.
– Mary and Jim
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