Apple Butter

September 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

I never really fully appreciated apples until I lived on the east coast. You can definitely grow good apples in California, but they aren’t our very best fruit offering. When I moved to the east coast after college, my eyes were opened to all that apples could be. There were apple-picking excursions in upstate new york, and new apple varieties that were crisper than anything I’d had on the west coast. I remember when I first discovered what is now my all-time favorite apple, Mutsu. It literally blew my mind. I would sit on my couch marveling that an apple could be so crisp and tart and sweet all at once. I once texted a friend to brag about my apple. And for a while, I literally wanted Mutsus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was out of control.

Even though I’m back in California now, my eyes are open to all that apples can be. And I’ve noticed that over the past few years, local markets and stores have begun to carry a wider range of apples, including  Honey Crisp, Pink Pearl, and (finally!) my beloved Mutsu. As the days begin feeling more like fall, I’ve found myself craving apples once again, so I thought I’d start the season off on the right note with this simple and healthy apple butter. And, I suppose you should know that I actually made this apple butter with a future (considerably less healthy) recipe in mind. So get ready, apple butter will be making another appearance shortly!

Ingredients (adapted from Serious Eats)

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 2 lbs mixed apples (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Mutsu and Jonathan), peeled, cored and cut into medium sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon allspice

Using a combination of different apple varieties really seems to improve the flavor of apple butter, so I used three different types. I also used considerably less sugar than this recipe – or most apple butter recipes for that matter – called for. I found it to be plenty sweet, and trust me, I like things sweet. But if you have a particularly strong sweet tooth, you can increase the sugar to as much as 1 cup.

Place the apple pieces and apple cider vinegar in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until apples are very tender.

Transfer apple mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to pan, and add sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Stir well to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until apple butter thickens, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from heat. Once the apple butter has cooled, transfer to a jar or other air tight container, and keep in refrigerator. Apple butter should keep for three weeks. If you multiply the recipe to make more apple butter, consider sterilizing your jars for longer shelf life. Enjoy by the spoonful, on bread, or any other way you like!

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