Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Apple butter is one of those great fall flavors. I've also found it INCREDIBLY easy and inexpensive to make. Break out the slow cooker and it pretty much makes itself. If you teach my kids, act surprised when you get this for Christmas...
Apple butter is a great topping for bread/toast and all those traditional uses, but I've also started using it in baked goods like the Apple Cinnamon Frosting and in pancakes. If I can use pumpkin in it, I'm trying using the apple butter in it's place for a different flavor. It cooks very much the same.

This is at the early stage of the process.

5-7 pounds apples - peeled, cored and finely chopped
3/4 c brown sugar**
3 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Place the apples in a slow cooker and toss with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
2. Cover and cook on high 1 hour.
3. Reduce heat to low and cook 9 to 11 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown. (I let it go overnight)
4. Blend in either food processor or blender for a smooth consistency (or leave it lumpy if you'd like). Return to slow cooker and continue cooking on low 1 hour uncovered.
5. Spoon the mixture into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate or freeze. To can, pour hot apple butter into hot jars and process in a hot water bath for 10-12 minutes.

** I use sweet apples (Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Gala, etc.) that don't require much added sugar. Sweeten to you own liking.

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