Our apple butter uses only boiled cider and apples. When we make it at home, we make our basic applesauce recipe (without peeling or coring the apples) and then put it through a food mill, and then add the boiled cider and cook it down in an uncovered crock pot for 4-8 hours, watching it and stirring occasionally until it is glossy and smooth and makes a nice little mound on the spoon when you scoop some out (instead of sitting flat).
Old-Fashioned Apple Butter
Recipe from “Cider, Hard and Sweet” by Ben Watson.
It is possible to make apple butter with nothing more than sweet dessert apples and fresh cider, but more recipes call for some sugar as well as spices to perk it up. I’ve also made apple butter for friends whose diet doesn’t include sugar, by substituting a 12-ounce can of apple juice concentrate for the sugar.
- 24 medium apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (about 6 pounds)
- 2 cups sweet cider
- 3 cups sugar (or less, depending on the sweetness of the apples)
- 1 ½ reaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
In a heavy, nonreactive pot, cook the apples in the cider, simmering slowly until tender. Process the cooked apples through a food mill, or press through a sieve.
Return the apple pulp to the pot and add the sugar and spices. Simmer slowly, uncovered, stirring frequently as the mixture thickens. When it is very thick and rounds up on a spoon, transfer the hot mixture to sterilized canning jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
Yield: about 3 pints