Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Recipe - Apple butter

So this week I still had a large bag of apples left over from picking last weekend. Last weekend was the massive apple cook-off, and this week continued much the same. Apple cherry bread pudding (I didn't realize it was going to be like a pastry, I thought it would be pudding-like, but it was really yummy!), apple cherry crisp, apple chicken, and apple butter.

The apple butter recipe took me about six to eight hours. But I think that that's mostly because I made a double recipe (the quantities below are for a double recipe, which was about 10 1/2 smallish mason jars), and I used a deep pot on low heat (so I didn't have to constantly stir), which took longer to evaporate.

The problem I ran into is that I had no idea how many pounds of apples I had. So I rigged up a scale, MacGyver-style. I took an 8lb weight, tied it to a string, attached the string to one end of a stick. Then to the other side, I tied the bag with apples. And tried to balance it on a folded-up chair until it was about even. And it actually seems to have worked!!!

Apple butter

8lbs of apples
2C apple cider vinegar
4C water
Sugar (about 7-8 cups)
4t cinnamon
t cloves
t allspice
grated rind of one lemon

Cut the apples into quarters (without removing core or peel, as much of the flavor is in them) and add them to a large pot with the water and vinegar. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until apples are soft (about 20 minutes).

Ladle the apples into a food mill or chinese sieve. Force pulp into the bowl/pan below. This process took a while, and I was really surprised at how little detritus was left over from the peel and seeds, considering how many apples I used. Once the apples are reduced, return the apples to a pot. For every one cup of apple puree, add 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and lemon rind. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

All the above steps can be simplified if you just want to use applesauce instead.

Cook uncovered in a large pot on medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning (or if, like me, you don't want to stand there for ages blasting out your shoulder stirring, put it on lower heat for a longer time). Cook until thick and smooth when spooned onto a plate (cooking cook take anywhere from 2-6 hours depending on the size of the pot and the heat).

I'm not going to go through the canning procedure here, but if you want to do that, then here are the steps. I did can them, and the seals were good on all but one of the jars (and it's important to sterilize and get a good seal to prevent botulism). I figure they'll make good Christmas presents.

It came out really yummy, spicy and sweet and great on toast.


Missicat said...

yummmmm...must hit the local farmer's market this weekend for apple butter!

Barbara Gavin said...

I am thinking that the apple cherry pudding had its origins in the UK - where pudding is a generic term for dessert.
Kids will say, "what's for pudding?" the way we used to ask, "what's for dessert?"

Charlotte said...

I have a deep and abiding love for all things apple. This extends to apple butter. Which I am now seriously craving;)

The Lethological Gourmet said...

Really? I never knew that, Barbara! That's like people here saying "Coke" for any kind of soda.

Give in to the apple butter craving, Charlotte!

Romny said...

Pink Floyd "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

Anyways, I still cringe at the words apple and butter in one word, that's like laser & eye. Nevertheless, it does sound yummy. I like your channeling of MacGyver.