The day that this apple butter was bubbling away, happened to be the same day that oranges were being shredded for marmalade and the kitchen never smelled more amazing. A passing roommate even proclaimed, "I am so glad my house smells like this". Apples, fresh squeezed apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice alongside the pungent aroma of a copious amount of orange slices. It was what I think those nasty, plug-in air fresheners aim for, just so much better. Like pie, and summer breeze, and citrus and endorphins and love. A little far? Maybe… But this butter, made with no butter, will make you smile as is reduces into a spattering, plopping lava like substance. Enjoy it spread on toast year round to get a taste of these lovely fall (slash early winter) apple flavors.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Apple Butter adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Yield: Roughly 80 ounces, so 5- 8oz jars.
4 pounds of apples, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
1/2 gallon of apple cider or freshly squeezed apple juice
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Juice of one lemon
Prepare the jars: Heat oven to 225 degrees fahrenheit and place jars (but not lids) on the baking racks. Jars will need to stay in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Wash the lids with hot water and let them dry completely on a clean towel.
Make the apple butter: In a big, heavy pot over medium/med-high heat add the apples and enough apple cider to just cover the apples. Bring to a simmer. A bit of foam with form, you want to skim that off a couple times (don't obsess).
Cook the apples until they are tender, roughly 20-30 minutes. Start smashing the apples with a potato masher until the mixture becomes smooth. (It is okay to smash in stages or cool the apples a bit and use a blender to puree them).
When the apples are a smooth puree, bring to a simmer. You need to hit 220 degrees fahrenheit. While stirring, slowly add the sugar, cinnamon, mace, allspice and lemon juice. Continue to simmer over medium/med-low heat. It takes quite a while from this point until the apple butter reduces and really thickens up, anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Make sure you stir regularly, you don't want to burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. You are looking for the apple butter to thicken up and darken. Towards the end it gets a bit messy, the simmer becoming more lava-like. It will start to sound different, lots of plop and slop noises and lots of spattering coming from the pot. Remove from heat.
Fill your biggest, deepest pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. The water level will need to cover the jars.
Using tongs carefully remove each jar from the oven and fill to within 1/4 inch of the top with the apple puree. Wipe off the rims with a clean, dry paper towel. Place a dry lid on each jar and close tightly. Using tongs place each of the jars in the boiling water and boil for 1o minutes.