Apple Butter is common throughout Eastern Europe. With only three ingredients in the recipe -- apples, water and sugar -- it was an easy project for an overabundance of fruit. And busy farmwives could enlist the aid of their children in the almost-constant stirring.
Today, we have microwaves and slow cookers that take the drudgery out of keeping a watchful eye on the pot. This recipe easily can be increased. It's low in sugar, as all fruit butters are, and makes a great topping for breads, rolls, ice cream and cakes.
- 1 pound apples (washed, quartered, and cored)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 to 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
1. In a medium saucepan, combine apples and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and simmer until apples look like applesauce, stirring occasionally.
2. Pass the puree through a sieve or food mill. Mix the strained puree with the sugar and spices and choose one of the following cooking methods.
- Slow Cooker: Place sweetened pulp in a slow cooker with lid partially off to let steam escape. Set at low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-12 hours or overnight, or until thick enough so the butter doesn't run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Microwave: Place sweetened pulp in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 20 minutes at a time, stirring frequently until thick enough so the butter doesn't run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Stovetop: Place sweetened pulp in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 1-2 hours or until thick enough so the butter doesn't run off a spoon when turned upside down.
- Oven: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place sweetened pulp in a heatproof casserole dish or roaster. Bake, stirring only occasionally, for 1-3 hours or until thick enough so the butter doesn't run off a spoon when turned upside down.
3. Place hot butter in hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Cover with hot sterilized lids and rings. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Remove to counter and allow to cool before storing in a cool, dry, dark place.
Note: If you don't process in a water bath, the butter can be kept refrigerated for up to three weeks or frozen for up to one year.
Note: Before attempting a home canning project, read what the Ball canning jars company has to say about it.