Every year about this time, I make a nice big batch of homemade apple butter. My goal is to have enough jars in my pantry to last me well through fall and winter. It’s delicious on biscuits and toast, of course, but apple butter is also perfect in holiday appetizers, in pumpkin pie, in cheesecake, and even as a glaze on pork and chicken. And in our case, we are fortunate to live in a huge apple-growing region where we have dozens of orchards and easy access to many fresh apples for my annual apple butter-making project.
But this year, I haven’t gotten around to making the trip to the orchard just yet. I plan to, but it hasn’t happened yet. Honestly, I think I’ve been waiting for the weather to cool down a wee bit before we go and pick apples. It just isn’t as much fun to be picking apples in 85-degree temperatures as it is on a crisp fall day. Even so, we’re still feeling in a fall mood around here, and craving all of the usual fall goodies – maple scone with apple butter and a mug of pumpkin spice coffee anyone? So for the time being, I’ve made a batch of my super-easy, super-yummy, small-batch apple butter.
I do use my slow cooker for my apple butter. Even for “traditional” apple butter where I pick and peel and chop apples, I use my slow cooker. I mean, I don’t have a big copper pot that I can slowly stir all day over a fragrant hardwood fire in my backyard, so I figure my slow cooker will just have to do. But for this recipe, I take it a step further and make it even easier. And here’s the trick – I start with applesauce. Either store-bought or have homemade will work just fine. Just dump the applesauce and the other ingredients in the slow cooker, and let it slowly bubble and simmer until it’s thick and rich, and nicely caramelized. It can be canned in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude), but why bother? This recipe makes about 2 pints, which in our house doesn’t last too long, so I often skip the canning and just pop it in the fridge. (If you’re new to canning and want to learn proper, safe procedure, I recommend Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More.)
So if you’re short on time, or if you don’t live within an easy drive of apple orchards, or maybe if you just want an easier way to make apple butter, definitely give this recipe a try. Happy Fall Y’all and I hope you enjoy!
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