I love putting apple butter on a warm homemade buttermilk biscuit in the morning. It just warms my soul right up! Plus, it is so easy to make. It just take some time. I like the recipe from my handy dandy Betty Crocker cookbook. If you plan on canning it, you will need a solid 3 - 4 hours to time for it to cook. Other than that little detail, it is easy peasy! Start by peeling and cooring your apples. Cut them into fourths and put them in a dutch oven.
(Hint hint to Santa-- I would love an electric apple peeler. Just saying.)
Then come the easy part. Just dump the rest of the ingredients into the dutch oven with the apples. The full list of ingredients is below. Once all you ingredients are in your pan; heat it to boiling, stirring it occasionally. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat, cover and simmer it for one hour.
After an hour, mash the apples with a potato masher or large fork. I ended up using an immersion blender after I mashed it to get rid of the lumps. Then simmer it uncovered for another hour; stirring it occasionally. You want the mixture to get nice and thick. After an hour, let it cool for two hours.
This is where I altered it a bit-- I only waited about 30 minutes for it to cook because I was planning to can it and it was going to get heated back up anyway. If you don't plan on canning it, then just put it into a container and store it in the fridge for up to three weeks. And eat it as often as possible!
If you want to can it, you first need to clean and process your canning jars. It will typically tell you how to process your jars on the box or you can use this helpful guide. You will want to sterilize the lids; I boiled them in a pot of water. You will want to put another pot of water on to boil for the water bath canning. I have a big 12 qt. stock pot, which works well for me.
Once your jars are ready to go, spoon your apple butter into the jars. Leave one inch of head room at the top of the jar. Be sure to remove any excess that may have dripped onto the rim. Carefully, remove the lids from the boiling water and place it on the jar. Screw on the metal band. When all your jars are ready and your water is boiling, place the jars in the water. Be very careful because the water may splash up and it is extremely hot! I have a strainer which came with my stock pot that is very handy, but you can also use rubber tipped tongs, which also work well. Let the cans boil for five minutes (as long as you are at sea level; if not, use the canning guide on the jar box). After five minutes, carefully remove the jars from the water and let them sit. Do not touch them for 24 hours. The jars need to seal. You will hear random popping noises, which is good, it means your jars are sealing. After 24 hours of sitting, you can store them or even open one right up and enjoy!
It really isn't too hard as long as you plan for enough time and read all the way through the directions before you start. I promise, it is well worth it when you can have homemade apple butter all season long!
12 medium cooking apples
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups apple juice
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground all spice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves