Reposted from my previous blog, Chronic Masterbakers:
One of the best things about autumn in Southern Ontario is the harvest of so many different varieties of fruits and vegetables; it’s so much fun getting all “pioneer-y” and canning and preserving and freezing and pickling nature’s bounty, knowing how much people will appreciate having those fresh tastes of summer all drizzly-grizzly winter long.
I always wanted to make my own apple butter, after using a store-bought version as a pie ingredient many moons ago. Apple butter is hella-expensive, and I thought, “well, how hard can it be for a Pastry Chef to make apple butter for so much cheaper?”
Thank goodness I was right! All apple butter needs, besides the right equipment to make it (which almost every kitchen has) and a couple of spices and whatnot, is TIME. The best apple butter lets the taste of the apples shine through (with a little spice for “kick”), and to achieve that, you need to render and evaporate out most of the water from the apples, which takes lots of time to simmer and bubble away.
So, if you have at least 4 hours, 4 lbs of cooking apples, a stove, and a big, heavy-bottomed pot, you too can make one of the best foods of the harvest, right in your own kitchen!
Note: This recipe will need the following equipment:
- An 8-quart (7.5L) thick-bottomed, wide mouthed saucepan (do NOT use a thin-bottomed stockpot or the extended cooking process will surely burn the sauce at the bottom of the pot)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Silicone or other heat-resistant spatula, a ladle, and a strong wooden spoon
- Six to eight 8-ounce (250mL) canning jars
Extra equipment required:
- A food mill or a chinois sieve (these are recommended to make your life easier, but in a pinch you can rock it “old style” with a plain old metal strainer)
- 4 lbs of cooking apples (the ones that go mushy when cooked: depending on your region and what is available in your area, I recommend Golden Delicious, Fuji, Cortland, McIntosh, or Gala), unpeeled and uncored, cut into quarters
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- ~ 4 cups Sugar (see cooking instructions for specific amount)
- Pinch salt
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon or cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced