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Saturday, June 04, 2011

How to make your own apple butter

Apples (Granny Smith variety pictured) are amo...

Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of apple sauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. The concentration of sugar gives apple butter a much longer shelf life as a preserve than apple sauce.

Apple butter was a popular way of using apples in colonial America, and well into the 19th century. There is no dairy butter involved in the product; the term butter refers only to the thick, soft consistency, and apple butter's use as a spread for breads. Typically seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and other spices, apple butter may be spread on buttered toast, used as a side dish, an ingredient in baked goods, or as a condiment.

Makes 8 servings

    6 pounds apples Winesap or other cooking                       
    6 cups apple juice                                             
    3 cups sugar                                                   
    2 teaspoons cinnamon ground                                    
    1/2 teaspoon cloves ground                                     
    1 teaspoon lemon juice fresh
Core and thinly slice apples into large heavy saucepan.

Add apple juice and cook until soft; about 30 minutes.

Pour apples into large sieve and press until all fruit passes through and leaves skin. Discard skin. Repeat process until all apples are sieved.

Return apples to heavy pan and boil gently for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice.

Cook, stirring over low heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer, gently, stirring frequently until thick; about 1 hour.

Pour into sterilized 1/2 -pint jars; adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes after water comes to boil.

You can successfully make half this recipe if desired.
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