This weekend autumn officially begins. In Ohio, many of us look forward to the change in temperature and the beauty that the leaves begin to behold as they transition between colors. The cool crisp air also reminds us that it is time to pick apples. There are all sorts of apple recipes floating around through September and October. Apple cider, apple crisp, and of course, my favorite apple butter.
We are fortunate enough to live within an hour drive of one of the largest Amish communities in the United States, and that is where I fell in love with apple butter. Just thinking about spreading some over a slice of freshly baked bread is already making my mouth water. In fact, it has become so popular in our family, that I have to make quite a bit extra to give away.
This year, I wanted to tweak my traditional apple butter recipe to get rid of the added white sugar. Just like any jelly or jam, it calls for several cups of sugar. But since the apples are so sweet this year, I decided that I could keep this recipe all natural. Instead of the sugar, I used unsweetened apple juice that I made with the same type of apples that I used for the apple butter recipe. Just add a few inches of water to your pot, cut and core your apples, and strain out the juice. Easy as that! But, if you don’t have that many extra apples, you can always buy 100% all natural, unsweetened apple juice, it works just the same.
Welcome autumn in this year by giving this recipe a try. Your family will be glad you did – and your house will smell incredible!
Crockpot Apple Butter – No Sugar Added
*makes approximately 5-6 pints
- 21 whole Medium-sized Apples (use A Sweet Variety like Jonathan, Gala Or Fuji)
- 4-½ cups Unsweetened Apple Juice
- 6 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1/3 teaspoon Sea Salt
1. Core and slice apples with skin on. Using an apple slicer/corer makes it quick and easy to get all apples cut before they begin to turn brown. Make sure to cut out any bruised or bad spots.
2. Add to a 6qt. crockpot, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
3. Stir mixture a few times to coat the apples evenly with the liquid and spices.
4. Cover cook on low for 12 hours or overnight.
5. Turn off the crockpot and allow the apple mixture to cool for about an hour. The apples should be very soft and a dark brown color when they’re ready.
6. Use an immersion blender to blend apple mixture to a smooth consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour cooled apples and liquid into a blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
7. Let the apple butter cool completely and then store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, freeze for up to 6 months, or can the apple butter for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Mary and Jim