So, if you have an apple tree or a good sale at the store, what do you do with them? Make apple butter! Everything's better when you add butter to the name, right?
I cobbled this recipe together from a bunch of different sources. Some went way overkill with sugar. I read the comments of other cooks and cut things down. I wanted apple butter that was sweet but let the natural sweetness of the fruit shine through--and was also lower in calories.
This apple butter keeps very well in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for a few weeks. I also like to measure out a few cups and place them in quart-size freezer bags. Compress the air and flatten the apple butter, and then the bag stores easily in the freezer. When you're ready, just thaw in the fridge and keep it well sealed.
What can you do with apple butter? Well, you can dollop it on top of bread or oatmeal like you would jam or jelly, or use it with pork chops or chicken, or use it as an ingredient in muffins, bread, bars, pies, cakes, etc. I've also used it as a substitute for apple sauce in recipes.
Also, it's really good just to eat off the spoon. Seriously.
Overnight Crock Pot Apple Butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
sprinkling of cardamom
3 pounds of apples [use a variety, at least 3 kinds--it creates more complex flavor]
1) Core your apples. Leave the peels on. Cut apples into chunks.
2) Combine all the ingredients in a large crock pot and stir everything together. Cover and cook on low for ten hours, or until apples are very tender.
3) If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend apples completely so that no chunks remain.
If not, carefully ladle hot apples into a blender and puree. Place apples back in crock pot.
4) Continue to cook the apples, uncovered, on high for 1.5 hours or until the mixture is thick. Be sure to stir occasionally. When desired thickness is achieved, turn off the slow cooker and let the apple butter sit for one to two hours to cool.
Keeps well tightly sealed in the refrigerator, or can be frozen in freezer bags or jars.
OM NOM NOM.