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Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Westport, CT

6 pecks apples
2 cups apple cider
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup to 1 cup of natural maple syrup (to taste)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons allspice

Wash and quarter the apples. Place in 2-3 large pots with about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Cover and boil until apples are soft and mushy. Pass the cooked apples and liquid through a Foley Food Mill. Divide the applesauce into 2 large heavy-bottomed pots. Discard the peels, cores, seeds left in the food mill. Add half the apple cider, vinegar, maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves and allspice to each pot. Mix well.

Heat the apple mixture on medium heat. Using a large long handled wooden spoon, stir every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning. Cook for 8-8.5 hours until the mixture has reduced to about half its original volume. The apple butter will thicken and darken to a brown thick paste.

Clean and sterilize the canning jars according to the package instructions. Fill the sterilized jars with hot apple butter. Leave about an inch between the apple butter and the top of the jar. Tap the jar to let air bubbles escape. Wipe the top of the jar clean. Place the flat lid on the jar and gently place the screw top lid in place until finger tight (but no tighter).

Place the closed jars in the canning pot with hot steamy water. Lower the nesting cage into the water and bring the jars to a boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes. Very carefully remove the jars using oven mitts and the canning tongs specially made for removing jars from boiling hot water.

Gently remove the screw top lid and let the jars cool for about 24 hours on a cookie rack with the flat top lid in place. Once cool, test each seal by pressing on the flat top lid. If it pops, the jar did not seal properly. These are not ruined, but must be placed in the refrigerator for quick consumption (approximately one month). The rest that did not pop are properly sealed. Place the screw top lid in place and tighten. These jars are now ready to be stored in the pantry until used (about 12 months).

This is a family favorite. I like making it myself because I know that there is no refined sugar or corn syrup in my apple butter. I also have the added benefit of having my house smell like apple butter for three days (which is usually how long it takes me to get from apple picking to canned jars). You will probably do it quicker, but I like to drag it out over a few days.