Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apple Butter Recipe

I love apple butter. It has a flavor that rivals no other. Apple butter is also expensive, running anywhere from $3.50-5.00 a pint in this area. That adds up.

I happen to have an apple tree. Now, I admit over the past few years it has been neglected. It is overgrown and the apples are buggy. I plan on doing a major trim job on it this fall after the leaves are gone. In the meantime I was tired of letting my apples go to waste.

Not very pretty are they? Definitely not something I just want to take a big bite out of. However, they are perfect for making applesauce, and apple butter! Many of the issues are surface deep and disappear when peeled. So lots and lots of apples - $0. Not everyone has this luck, however check your local orchards. A lot of times you can get "scratch and dent" apples for a fraction of the price.

So peel and chop I did. For a couple of hours.

The angle makes it hard to tell, but that is 6 quarts of peeled and chopped apples. Believe it or not the prettier apples tended to be yuckier on the inside than the uglier ones.

To the chopped apples I add 5 cups of sugar. This costs me about $0.70. I then add about $0.05 worth of pumpkin pie spice (easier than playing games with a balance of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and so on. You may feel otherwise.

Put a lid on the crockpot, turn it on low.

This is what it looks like after 6 hours of cooking.

And after 12 hours it looks like applebutter! A little lumpy, but nothing a handheld blender can't work out.

I puree the applebutter until smooth, then leave on warm with the lid off for another 2 hours to make sure all the liquid is cooked off.

In total, for $0.75 I made a little over half a gallon of apple butter. That should take me right through next apple harvest season. Hopefully, next year my apples will be a little nicer.

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