I’ve been debating what to do with our many, many apples from the recent apple-picking adventure. I hate seeing food go to waste, so I needed an apple recipe plan to use up our tasty apples, other than the traditional apple cake and such items. So I decided to try a new recipe to recreate one of my favorite tastes – apple butter jam.
Let me make this clear – I LOVE apple butter! And let me be clear to those of you not familiar with this fall treat – there’s absolutely no butter in it!
The first time I tasted this concoction was at my grandfather’s house as a kid. Then my mom decided to make batches of this stuff each year during the holiday season as gifts for our teachers and friends. It was so exciting when mom made apple butter. Nowadays, I only seem to get apple butter when we make our annual trip to the pumpkin patch to buy it at the farm store.
I enlisted my mom to find her old apple butter recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I combined that recipe with the likes of a few others I found online. And before I knew it, I had apple butter jam. The house smelled AMAZING – like fresh cider simmering on the stove and apples pies baking in the oven. I like to think I’m getting my fruit servings in by eating something as delicious as Apple Butter. I guess you just have to watch all the carbs you dose with the delicious goodness.
Leah’s Apple Butter Jam
Before you break out your kitchen scale and measuring spoons, let me just say these measurements are approximate. All I know is that I had two full half-peck bags of apples, and I used about ¾ of them for this recipe (savings some for butternut squash soup). And I adjusted the spice measurements according to the quantity of apples.
3 lbs. apples – any variety
¾ cup of water
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon orange zest (I’d leave this out if I didn’t have any on hand. It won’t make or break the jam. I wasn’t expecting that to rhyme.)
1. Peel all the apples and dice them into chunks. I’ll be honest with you – this took the most time.
2. Throw the apples in a crock pot along with the water and spices. Give it a quick mix. Turn the temperature on high and let it simmer about six hours.
3. Once I was sure the tastes were perfect and the consistency was almost perfect, I turned off the crock pot and used a whisk to stir the apple butter to the consistency I wanted. At this point, I still had apples in chunks. But I did not use a food processor because I didn’t want the jam too thin. I guess this is where one of those food mills would come in handy.
4. Once you get it to your desire consistency, place the apple butter into a container and refrigerate. The pectin in the apples will make the jam firm up quite a bit once it’s refrigerated. Of course, you can also fill sterilized jam jars at this point as well. My amounts made about 3 cups of jam.
If you’ve never tried apple butter before, you must try it now. Go make this recipe! Don’t settle for the processed stuff on the grocery store shelves. You’ll only be hurting yourself.
Happy Fall and Apple (Butter Jam) Eating!