Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple Butter

OK, I know - I said Scandinavian recipes would be the focus of my next few posts. As far as I know, apple butter is German in origin. But that's close enough, right?

Germany is right below Denmark, anyway - which is part of Scandinavia. Hubby is German and Danish on his mother's side, and she makes the apple butter in the family. She usually sends some over, but the kids gobble it up so fast that Hubby & I have sometimes missed out if we don't make toast right away. That's what happened again this year.

About a week ago my sister in law asked me if we could use some apples. We happened to be at her house when someone dropped some off for her. Of course, we could use some apples!

I didn't count on "some apples" being a bushel full! I had already pulled out about 3 pounds for apple crisp, and about the same amount for the first batch of apple butter when I took this photo:
The shiny thing in the background is our big metal cooler, if you want to put this into perspective.
They may not look very pretty, but they are perfect for baking or eating. Sweet, tart, and perfectly crisp. Minnesota has the perfect climate for apples. I haven't tried the Sweet Tango, which is the newest apple developed at the University of MN, but the Honeycrisp is wonderful - and I've heard the new one is even better. I have no idea what kind of variety these are, but that's ok, they are still good!

Here's the recipe that I found for apple butter in one of my many recipe books and clippings. It comes from a Land O'Lakes cookbook I got from my mother years ago, and it doesn't take 24 hours to make!

Apple Butter

3 lbs. (9 medium) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Cook apples in apple juice or cider in a large saucepan (covered), until apples are soft (25 to 30 minutes). I use my Dutch oven for this - since it's big enough to hold all the apples and they won't jump out of the pot when I'm stirring. Put apple mixture in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade (or 5-cup blender - that's what I use). Cover; process until smooth (1 to 2 minutes).


Return apple mixture to same pan; stir in all remaining ingredients.

2009_1029WafflesAndAppleButtr0013 2009_1029WafflesAndAppleButtr0014

Cook over low heat, stirring often, until mixture is very thick (30 to 45 minutes). I cooked mine longer, as it didn't seem thick enough. I think it was more like an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. Serve warm or cold on pancakes, waffles, toast or warm breads. Store refrigerated.

You can freeze this for as long as you want, or you could also put it into jars and can it as well. If you do that, I'd process the jars under an inch of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes.

What, you haven't done any canning before? It's easier than you'd think. We'll have to talk about that later. Questions about canning before then? Ask away, I'll answer what I can.

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