I’ll be honest. I didn’t know what apple butter was. In my mind, I thought it was some sort of apple-flavoured butter, or some peanut butter-like apple spread. I guess the latter was kind of close, although the texture is nowhere near the same.
Basically, apple butter is a more concentrated form of applesauce, by cooking it further and evaporating the moisture. It is very delicious, and perfect on toasted bread, waffles, or baked goods. This is best cooked overnight in a crock pot, before you go to bed (which I think is so under-utilized in the kitchen!), to allow the flavours to really meld together, and you don’t have to worry about it much. Your house will really smell of apples and cinnamon. It’s amazing — you’ll really love this!
Makes about 4 cups
- 10 apples of choice, cored and sliced (skins on, or can peel if you want it smoother, but the skins have all the fibre!) *see note
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Grated rind and juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup water or unsweetened apple juice
- maple syrup or other sweetener, to taste (depending on natural sweetness of apples, and tartness of adding vinegar/lemon)
Throw all the ingredients (except the maple syrup) in the crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on high for the first hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, turn on low, and let it cook overnight for 8 hours. In the morning, give it another stir to break up the apples. At this point, do a taste test and add the maple syrup or other sweetener to your liking. Using a hand blender, puree until smooth. With the lid slightly ajar, leave it to cook for another 3-4 hours (or more), until the apple butter becomes darker and concentrated, and the water has evaporated, leaving a more thicker and spreadable-type consistency. Transfer to a mason jar and store in the fridge.
You can also use home canning methods to extend the shelf life (instead of storing in the freezer), as the acidity from the lemon/vinegar makes it suitable for this. I used the water canning method for it! Enjoy it on some toast, a muffin or these waffles 🙂
- When I first made this, I had only 7 apples, and I added 3 pears to it. Feel free to add pears if you like!
- I find the addition of cardamom and allspice gives it a nice spiced flavour. It’s a perfect spread for the fall season!