It’s November and guess what! We’re canning apples for the tigress can jam. I was a little disappointed last month that apples weren’t on the list, but I needn’t have worried. We’re all in different growing seasons so even though it’s November, apples are still available. I got a half peck of Winesap Apples from my favorite farm and made this delicious Maple Apple Butter in the crock pot.
I was trying to decide which apple butter recipe I was going to use when I ran across Tracy of Sugarcrafter’s post on Maple Apple Butter. She used an adapted version of Michelle at BigBlackDogs.net’s Maple Apple Butter recipe. It sounded so delicious and it’s made completely in the crock pot. That’s it! I thought. I’m sold.
I had wanted to make apple butter, but was not looking forward to the long drawn out process that I went through last year. The first time I made apple butter, it was a bit of a pain because I didn’t have a food mill or an apple peeler. It tasted great so all was eventually forgiven, but I made up my mind that never again would I go through that exhausting process.
The next time I made Apple Butter was much easier with the food mill, but it still took a while to cook all of the puree in the pot over the stove. So when I saw that Tracy’s and Michele’s method of making the apple butter used the crock pot, that seemed like the perfect solution.
I opted to use an adapted version of the Apple Butter Recipe from The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich.and make it in the crock pot. I had so much fun that I made two batches this way.
Maple Apple Butter
Adapted from The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich.
Makes: about 3 1/2 to 4 pints
6 pounds cored and quartered apples (unpeeled)
About 4 cups light brown sugar (I used 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups granulated sugar and about 3/4 cups maple sugar. It was definitely sweet!)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground mace or ground nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
I didn’t peel or core the apples. I just washed them, cut them into quarters and plopped them in the crock pot, seeds, cores and all.
Although I liked the thought of cooking everything in the crock pot, I didn’t want to waste any maple syrup or brown sugar so I didn’t put all of the ingredients in the crock pot to begin with.
Linda’s recipe has you measure the volume of the puree to determine how much sugar to add. That method made more sense to me. So, to begin with, I just cooked the apples (cores, peels and all) on low for about 4 hours until they were soft. I didn’t add any water but I did add some lemon juice.
Then I ran the softened apples through the food mill using the coarse screen as the recipe suggested.
I noticed some seeds had gotten through the coarse screen so I switched to the medium screen and ran the puree through the food mill again. It didn’t take very long and was definitely worth the effort.
Here is what the puree looked like.
I ended up with 8 cups of puree. According to instructions, you measure the volume of the puree, and add half as much light brown sugar which would be 4 cups. I couldn’t bring myself to use that much brown sugar, so instead, I added 1 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cup maple syrup and 2 cups of granulated sugar. It was really sweet, but delicious!
Then I added the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and cooked the mixture in the crock pot on low until it was thick, about 4 more hours. I started it on high, then turned it down after about 30 minutes or so.
After the butter had thickened, I ladled it into mason jars, added lids and rings, and processed the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Refer to the instructions at the National Center for Home Preservation.
This maple apple butter was simple to make and it tastes great! I made two batches for a total of 12 half-pints and 5 pints. I’ve already given some away as gifts and am looking forward to sharing more. I was so tempted to buy more apples and make more butter, but I refrained.
As Linda relates in the book, Apple Butter is uniquely American. It is a comfort food associated with warm bread, a warm fire, and rain or snow on the windowpane.
I invite you to enjoy some of this delicious Maple Apple Butter for yourself.
Happy Canning and Baking!
We've been making jams or pickling every month in 2010. For more info, click on the button. Check out the November Can Jam Roundup to see what the other can jammers have been canning.
Here are some of the references I use in my canning adventures.