This easy Apple Butter recipe lets the slow cooker do all the work with minimal hands-on time. Rich, buttery, & packed with spiced apple flavor.
- 6 lbs of apples, cut into quarters without coring or peeling[/I]
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinigar
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Add the quartered apples, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, and lemon juice to a large saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, keep covered, and let sit at room temperature for 6-8 hours.
- Set a food mill that's fitted with the largest straining plate over the bowl of your slow cooker. Push the apples and all the liquid in the saucepan through the food mill into the slow cooker bowl, which will separate the apples from the core and peel. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the vanilla, to the apple pulp and stir to mix.
- Cook the mixture on high for 8 hours, stirring every once in a while. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 3-4 hours on high, until the apple butter is thick and deep brown. (*See notes about temperature below.) To test that it's done, place a small dish in the freezer for a few minutes. Spoon a bit of the apple butter onto the frozen dish and let sit for about 5 minutes. This will cool the apple butter quickly, allowing you to test it's thickness.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Store apple butter in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To preserve apple butter, spoon into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Pour the hot mixture into very clean, dry glass jars leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Using a damp cloth or paper towel, wipe the tops of the jar to ensure a clean seal. Cap and screw on lids, leaving them a bit loose.
- Bring a large pot of water, or water-bath canner, to a rolling boil and gently lower the jars into the boiling water using tongs. The water should cover the jars by at least 1/2 inch. Let process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and place upside down on a dry towel laid out on a flat surface. Allow to cool completely.
- Once the jars are cool, check the seal by gently pressing down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If that should happen to a jar or two, just store the preserves in the refrigerator and use it within 3 weeks. Properly sealed jars can be stored in the cupboard for up to 12 months.
- I like to get the apples simmering in the apple cider and cider vinegar in the evening, then cover the pan and let them soak in the liquid overnight. In the morning, push the apples through the food mill, and let them simmer away in the slow cooker for the rest of the day. You can also soak the apples in apple cider and vinegar early in the day, let them sit in the liquid through the middle of the day, and then let them simmer in the slow cooker overnight.
- Different slow cookers can cook food at different temperatures. If you feel that cooking your apple butter on high for such a long time is causing the bottom of the apple butter to burn, simply turn the heat down to low.
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