Making Apple Butter at Home

applebutterathomeheaderSo, you do not want 40 gallons of apple butter and you do not have 25 friends willing to spend two days peeling, snitting, stirring and canning with you.  Does that mean your only hope for apple butter is the Apple Butter Festival or buying a commercial product that has no similarity to the authentic stuff?  The answer should be “yes,” at least to attending the festival, but honestly, it is not.  You can make apple butter in small quantities for home use in everything from a four-quart stainless steel pot to a microwave.  When you make a small quantity, you do not need to peel the apples, instead you can remove the peels by putting the softened apples (the puree) through a sieve or food mill.

Stovetop Apple Butte

15 medium sized apples (4-5 lbs.)
1.5 quarts sweet cider
1.5 lbs sugar (3 cups)
1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice & cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
If you want sugarless apple butter, just leave out the sugar.  It will still work.
Select firm, tart cooking apples. (For sugarless, choose sweet apples.) Wash and slice; do not remove core, seed or peel.  Add cider and boil 15 minutes or until apples are soft.  Press through sieve.  (You should have about 3 quarts pulp.)  Gently boil the pulp 1 hour or until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.  To save time, you can use commercial applesauce instead of making your own apple puree.  Stir in sugar and spices and continue cooking slowly 3 hours or until thickened, stirring frequently.  Pour into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Seal.  No need to water bath since lids will seal themselves.  Makes 3-5 pints.

Oven-baked Apple Butter

15 medium sized apples (4-5 lbs.)
1.5 quarts sweet cider
1.5 lbs sugar (3 cups)
1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice & cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg.
Select firm, tart cooking apples. Wash and slice; do not remove core, seed or peel.  Add cider and boil 15 minutes or until apples are soft.  Press through sieve.  (You should have about 3 quarts pulp.) Put puree in two roasters that will fit in oven.  Stir in half the sugar.  Bake at 325 degrees F, stirring every half hour with a wooden spoon.  After one hour of cooking, add the remaining  sugar and the spices.  Cook until the apple butter is thick and deep brownish red.  3-4 hours.  Makes 3-5 pints

Crockpot Apple Butter

12 apples
2 cups apple cider
sugar
cinnamon
allspice
cloves
Wash, core and quarter apples but do not peel.  Combine apples and cider in lightly oiled crockpot, cover and cook on high for about 3 hours.  Sieve apples.  For each pint of sieved fruit add 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cloves.  Stir well. Cover and cook on high, 6 to 8 hours stirring every 2 hours.  Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down.

Microwave Apple Butter

Create apple puree by simmering 12-15 apples, sliced and cored along with 1 cup cider 4-6 hours in a pot on the stove. Leave on skins for color but sieve out when finished cooking down the puree. Or you can start with prepared unsweetened applesauce.
Add 1/2 cup sugar per quart of puree
2-4 tbl. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbl. molasses
Put in a microwave dish and cover with plastic.  Cook 3-5 minutes at a time separated by 5-7 minute gaps.  Stir every time you restart the microwave.  Do this for about an hour.

For more information about Apple Butter Festival, please contact:

Chamber of Commerce
127 Fairfax St.
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
304-258-3738
beth@berkeleysprings.com