Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Butter

4 lbs of good *cooking apples
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water or apple cider
brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Peel, quarter and core apples (if you have an apple-peeler-corer, about $25, this is very quick and easy; if not, it's not too bad). In a large stock pot cook apples with cider (or water) and vinegar until soft. Puree by either using a hand immersion blender or a blender/food processor; you may have to do it in batches in a blender. Return puree to pot and add about 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust sugar and seasonings if necessary.

Cook uncovered on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth; about 1 to 2 hours. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

*Apples good for cooking are golden delicious, jonathan, rome beauty, jonagold and gala.

This makes a little over 3 pints. If you plan to can the apple butter, ladle hot butter into hot jars and process in hot water canner 10 minutes.

You can also freeze or store in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

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