See the apple butter facts for healthy eating (at right) and where to get crocks under the honey pot bear!
When apples are plentiful in the fall it seems you can’t find enough things to do with them! Slice and freeze, make jelly, a whole pile of apple pies for harvest get-togethers, but here’s something old that’s new again…my yummy Apple Butter recipe!
Apple Butter Facts and History
Did you know that apple butter can replace up to 3/4 of the shortening in most recipes? Apple butter can also reduce sugar in baking recipes if the apple butter was lightly sweetened during preparation. Natural sugars (as opposed to white and processed cane sugars) are a healthy alternative.
Traditionally, apple butter was made in the oven, under low heat, back in the days when a small fire was kept going all day in the country kitchen, and more recently when hydro electricity was much cheaper.
In this day and age I’m loathe to leave my oven on any longer than absolutely required, which is one of the reasons I love this Apple butter recipe in particular! It’s made in your slow cooker or crock pot.
Apple Butter Crocks
Get a great deal on apple butter crocks, as well as other stoneware crocks, in your area – many come with free or low shipping. See the crocks we use on our dill pickle page.
Popularity of Apple Butter
Apple butter is making a huge comeback now that we’re looking for healthier alternatives to our eating choices and this apple butter recipe is no slouch in nutrition.
This first apple butter recipe was handed down a few generations and as such doesn’t follow any set guidelines for extra flavors or fast preparation – but I have added an extra trick, the slow cooker!
Later on in this page I’ll share some flavoring and time saving tips on apple butter variations you’re sure to love!
Gathering the Apples
Now if you don’t have your own apple trees on your country property or an orchard nearby, you might be able to find a great deal on a bushel of apples at a market stand. Fresh fruit at farmer’s markets are generally found in operation on weekends in small towns, but you may also find a roadside stand – at the end of an orchard’s driveway.
The first recipe makes a small batch, using only 10-12 apples, which is just a little under a 5 pound bag (if you’re stuck buying fruit from the grocery store).
Slow Cooked Apple Butter Recipe
- 10 to 12 large cooking apples (14 cups), chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 cups apple juice or apple cider
- 2-3 cups white sugar (to your personal taste and dependent upon the sweetness of the apples you’re using)
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Apple Butter Recipe Instructions:
- Core and chop unpeeled apples.
- Combine with apple juice or cider in slow cooker.
- Add sugar.
- Cover; cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Put apples into blender or food processor; blend on high speed until smooth.
- Return apples to slow cooker.
- Spice it up…add spices.
- Cook on low for 1 hour or until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Apple Butter Recipe Variations and Flavors:
For very thick apple butter, remove lid while cooking.
Add a dash of ginger and 15 unwrapped candy caramel squares before the second hour long cooking.
Make a more natural caramel apple butter by cooking, in a sauce pan, the sugar and apple juice until the sugar turns to caramelizes (light golden brown). Then add other ingredients and pop everything into the slow cooker.
Storage of Apple Butter:
- While the mixture is still hot, ladle the cooked apple butter into 6 sterilized half-pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace.
- Adjust lids.
- Process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
- Stores well in a cool dark cupboard for 6 months.
More information on the origins of apple butter recipes can be found here.