Thursday, 9 October 2014

Easy Apple Butter

apples and spices reduced in a slow cooker to make a thick spread

I have heard about apple butter off and on over the years and never really knew what it was. It seems to be more of an American 'thing'. I wasn’t sure if it was an apple flavoured butter, but when I researched, I discovered it was actually more like an apple jam. A spreadable sweet and spicy concoction perfect for spreading on toast or, in my case, crumpets.

apples and spices reduced in a slow cooker to make a thick spread

I researched it a bit more online and to me the easiest way to make it seems to be in a slow cooker. I found a few separate recipes on-line (including the brown-eyed baker) and tweaked them to suit British measurements.


It does take a long while to cook the apples down (oh, and to peel the little buggers first off) but it is so worth it. I jarred mines up and took it along to work. My colleagues loved it. And, they all said it tasted like Christmas. That will be thanks to the spices in it – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

With that in mind, I thought I’d bring you this recipe a couple of months early so you can perhaps give it a try and, if like me, you think it’s fantastic, you could make several jars up as Christmas gifts.

apples and spices reduced in a slow cooker to make a thick spread

As I said, a slow cooker is needed, but the only elbow-grease you need to expend is when peeling the apples. I used gala apples and pink ladies, but any apple would do really. And if it has a red skin, add some of the peel to the slow cooker. This imparts a lovely russet hue to the finished butter.

Keep it in the fridge once it’s made. Mine’s has been there for a month now and it still tastes fine. I have also frozen some, as it makes a lot, and when defrosted it was just as good.


Here is the recipe;



print recipe

Easy Apple Butter
Apple Butter made in a slow-cooker
Ingredients
  • 3 Kilograms apples (any variety)
  • 225 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or paste
Instructions
Peel, core and chop the apples. Place in the bowl of the slow cooker. Add the sugars, spices and salt and stir through. Cook on low for 9 hours. The apples will have reduced and become darker (and smell amazing). Put the lid slightly off the cooker to let some moisture escape and continue to cook on low for another 3 hours. After the three hours, remove from the heat and add the vanilla, stirring through. Use a stick-blender to puree the apple butter. Place in jars and allow to cool fully before placing on lids. It will thicken as it cools.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 large jars

I am entering the apple butter into the 'Slow Cooked Challenge' hosted by Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen. The theme this month is 'Open', so anything goes.


18 comments:

  1. I often hear the tale of how my mum made apple butter years ago when she was trying every apple recipe under the sun to use up a massive crop of apples (given to her or from her garden, I can't remember which) so every time I see it on Pinterest it makes me nostalgic. Yours looks beautiful and I really want some on crumpets for my breakfast tomorrow now!

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  2. I LOVE this stuff and have JUST got myself a slow cooker so I will be making it over the weekend... I love the colour of yours too. Apparently you can use it in cakes too!

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    1. Remember to add red peel into the pot for the colour Dom!

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  3. I love Spiced Apple Butter, and often make some at home with windfall apples http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/slow-cooker-spiced-apple-butter.html
    I've spotted a apple tree nearby, hopefully get to forage and make some again very soon.

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  4. Can honestly say I'd never heard of apple butter until the last couple of weeks. This looks delicious and perfect to spread on toast or crumpets now the weather is starting to turn cooler

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  5. Looks thick and deliciously caramelly....... I have never had apple butter and don't have a slow cooker, but maybe I should invest in the second so that I can make the first.....

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    1. Well Kate, you don't actually need a slow cooker, but when I made mine I seem to remember I spent 3 hrs stirring constantly and swore I wouldn't do it again!

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    2. I'll take that as 'better get a slow cooker' then! I'm not sure my arm muscles will stand up to 3 hours of stirring....

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  6. Ah, you're dead right Stuart, you're method looks a lot easier than mine! Lovely colour too.

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  7. It's regular stirring if done on the stovetop, otherwise it will catch on the bottom if you forget. I swear by the slow cooker method after a batch when I was 13 was ruined

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  8. I'm an American expat and have lived in Scotland for 19 yrs now. I hve made apple butter every year since I was about 7 as I was raised in the country, on a farm and we always canned our produce. If you would LIK to add variation next year, try using maple syrup (Vermont is best but Canadian is probably easier to get over here. And, if you have some left over crab apples in the freezer, these are a great addition, too...crab apples also make great apple butter, but if you thought peeling and coring big apples was tedious lol you might want to skip making with all crab apples. The best flavoured apple butter comes from crisp but tart apples, Granny Smith, macintosh, gala, etc. I haven't tried Bramley yet, but think because they are so watery, it would take much longer to thicken. I have some on the tree still, so will give them a try at the weekend. It's great just spread on toast, crumpets, etc, but is also great swirled in banana bread batter before the loaf is baked, or added to a plain cake recipe. It's great as a filling instead of frosting between sponge layers, or just used as a frosting on top of on apple cake., it's great as a topping for cupcakes, especially good on carrot cake cupcakes too. If you like sweet and savoury, my grandfather always loved it baked on chicken, just spread over the skin, but always added some onion and chilli flakes to the apple butter before spreading it over the chicken. My neighbours are addicted to apple butter and request it every Christmas, thinking of giving them an apple tree sapling along with a jar of mine and my recipe this year so they can make their own. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for this! I love the thought of it swirled into banana bread.

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  9. Looks fab Stuart. Thanks for joining me for the Slow Cooked Challenge :-)

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