My former boss Daniella once brought a whole bag full of small glass jars filled with “apple butter” to work and generously handed one to each of us employees. I brought the jar home and both Mike and I concluded that it was the most delicious thing we’d ever had and also that it was ridiculous that we’d never heard of it before. I asked Daniella for the recipe and while I don’t remember all the ratios exactly, I do remember that she said it took “lots of love to make”, referring to the fact that there’s a decent amount of stirring involved.
But trust us when we say this: it’ll be well worth the effort. Apple butter has gotten its name thanks to the silky smooth texture – not because it contains any dairy – and is best described as a very flavorful and velvety version of jam. We like it best slathered on a piece of bread or crisp bread, whether just as is or on top of regular butter or peanut butter. Think of it as a jam/marmalade/fruit spread/jelly replacement and make sure you 1. give this a go and 2. savor every bite of it. Oh, and few things are as appreciated as a homemade Christmas gift as apple butter – it’s become a standard for us to give a few jars away every year. More tips on that note can be found in here, actually: Eight Edible Christmas Gifts.
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Makes about 2-2.5 liters (68-84 fl oz) prepared apple butter
3 kg apples (6 lb 10 oz), preferably a variety good for apple sauce
5 dl (2 cups) water
3 dl (1 1/3 cup) apple cider vinegar
1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
- Cut the apples into wedges (don’t peel) and place in a pot. Add water and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the apples are completely soft, approximately 30-45 min. Then you can either just strain it through a fine sieve, or give it a go with a stick blender first and then strain it through a sieve. If you use a blender, you get a little more volume from the peels, which we prefer, but it’s definitely not a must. It’ll turn out completely smooth once it’s being strained regardless.
- Pour the apple mixture into a (clean) pot and add sugar, salt and lemon juice. Let simmer, while stirring often, until the consistency has thickened. The time needed will depend on apple variety used, but 30-60 min is a good estimate. If you place a plate with a dollop on it in the fridge for a minute or so and it firms up, you’re good to go.
- Pour into sterilized*, warm jars and screw on the lids immediately. Store dark and preferably a little cool. Will last, unopened, for at least 1 year.
*To sterilize the jars: wash them with soap and water, dry, and then place in a 110°C (230°F) oven for around 20 minutes until the jars are warmed through. For the lids, boil these in water for a minute to sterilize. Do this right before you are ready to fill, so the jars are almost too hot to touch as the apple butter goes in.
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– Sophia & Michael