Cinnamon Apple Butter ~~ Quick, Easy, Delicious

Apple Butter - A Great Fall Gift

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The History of Apple Butter

I learned to make Apple Butter in my early twenties. My mother-in-law and I would go to the local farmers market in Atlanta and buy a bushel of apples. She would core, peel, and slice her half of the apples, parboil and cool them, then pack them into heavy duty freezer bags and toss them into the old-fashioned chest freezer in her basement. She frequently made apple pies in the winter, especially around the holidays, so keeping a supply of apples ready to mix with sugar and spices and then tuck into a flaky pie crust was important to her.

At the risk of being considered un-American, I do not particularly care for apple pie. In fact pies don't generally tempt me. Following in my maternal grandmother's footsteps, I am more of a cobbler person. Peach cobbler, blueberry cobbler, blackberry cobbler...they are easy to make, almost foolproof, and so delicious. So I found an old recipe which everyone in my family loved and I turned my half bushel of apples into Apple Butter.

The results were great, but it was a long and arduous task. Peeling and coring hundreds of apples is not for the faint-hearted. And standing over and stirring a simmering cauldron of apples for several hours takes real stamina. It was pretty much an all-day affair, but by supper time you had several beautiful rows of glass jars with their gleaming lids of Apple Butter. A litile bit of gingham and ribbon and they made lovely gifts.

I made a huge batch of apple butter every year for the next ten years. Everyone in our family knew they would get a jar between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My three sons spread it on toast, biscuits, English Muffins, and even on pancakes. They thought it tasted great and I knew it was good for them (although I kept that information to myself). Jellies and jams are mostly sugar mixed with fruit juice and a small amount of real fruit. A "butter" on the other hand. is 70 to 90% fruit with a small amount of sugar.


What About the Quick and Easy?


A few years later I realized that I had abandoned my Apple Butter making tradition. I was in graduate school and managing a household and going to classes was all I could handle. Still the Holidays didn't seem very festive and the house didn't smell right without the aroma of apples and cinnamon. Those of you who are purists or traditionalists might want to stop reading now...because I cheated.

I went to the grocery store and bought five 25 ounce jars of applesauce and I made Apple Butter like always. Honestly, it was almost as good as if made from scratch the eight hour way. Everyone loved it and no one seemed to know that it was any different, so I didn't bring it up. :)

Five Simple Ingredients


2 25 ounce jars applesauce

1-2 cups white or brown sugar or half and half

4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour apple sauce into a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Slowly stir in sugar, salt, and spices, adding a little bit at a time. Watch closely and stir often until mixture comes to a simmer. Turn heat down and continue stirring frequently for 30 minutes. Remove a small amount and allow it to cool thoroughly. Taste the Apple Butter to see if it suits you. Adjust sugar, salt, and spices at this point if needed. Simmer another 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Turn off heat and ladle mixture into clean hot Mason jars. Follow the directions on the box and process the sealed jars in a water bath. Cover your counter with a towel before removing scalding hot jars from the canner. Allow then to cool slowly in an area with no drafts. Once they are completely cool, you should check the lids to make sure they are fully depressed. If they are, your Apple Butter will last at least 9-10 months. If you feel like a jar has not sealed properly, simply put it in the refrigerator and it should be fine for 4 to 6 weeks. You should have 5-6 half pint jars (8 ounces) of Apple Butter

This recipe can be cut in half or doubled depending on how many half pints you wish to make. You can also substitute 1 cup brown sugar for half the sugar, I do, but it's a matter of personal taste. Try it and see what you think. There are other Fruit Butters to discover..... Enjoy!


More by this Author


Comments - Quick and Easy Homemade Apple Butter 55 comments

rjsadowski profile image

rjsadowski 4 years ago

Brings back memories. I haven't tasted apple butter in years. I mever made it, but I might just try it.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Thanks for sharing your secrets!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

PH.. thank you for sharing this Hub I've never heard of Apple Butter--but now I have and I am going to make it so..:) Cheers


Abecedarian profile image

Abecedarian 4 years ago from These United States, Texas

Awesome, I use to love apple butter growing up, but recently tried it again after so many years and I don't like it so much anymore.


alipuckett profile image

alipuckett 4 years ago

Nice! Making apple butter from scratch is such time consuming project, but using applesauce seems like a really easy alternative. Thanks for the tip!


Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

This was an absolute delight to read. You have a clear voice in your writing and it kept my attention throughout the entire piece.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi RJ- Thanks for commenting. I wondered if anybody else out there had apple butter growing up like I did. :)

This is a medium brown apple butter, not nearly as dark as commercial apple butter and with a milder flavor - I have found that children who don't care for the strong dark flavor do like this. In fact a great way to introduce it to little ones is to cheerfully say, "Why look, its apple sauce with cinnamon sugar in it. You like cinnamon sugar." Almost foolproof. :)

I forgot to mention that its not half bad on a peanut butter sandwich (less sweet than jelly of course) and my family has been known to spoon it over pound cake. Not my personal cup of tea, but to each his own. :)

You can cook it longer if you want it thicker or want to develop a more concentrated taste, add more spice, add 1-4 Tablespoons of lemon juice if the apple sauce is not tart enough.

Once I even added two cups of apple juice I happened to have in the refrigerator. The result was very good, but the extra liquid did increase the cooking time by a little over an hour. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Kathleen - You are welcome to my secrets any time. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Frank - I think it may be a southern thing. Now that I think about it, my Georgia grandmother served it to us as children, but I don't remember it anywhere else I lived. My father was Air Force and we moved around.

Glad you are going to make it so. :) I thought of some more suggestions and options and I put them in the comment to RT above. Happy simmering. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Abecedarian - The commercial or traditional apple butter is very strong, almost black in color. I don't care for it either - it must be an acquired taste. This shortcut version is mild and flavorful and you might like it. If you decide to try it, I have included a few more suggestions and options in my comment above to RT.

By the way, I like your name....abecedarian...like it to the point of unseemly envy Wish I had thought of it first. :) Thanks for commenting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ali - You are more than welcome. I do love giving and receiving home made gift, but as I get older I have found I am not willing to spend eight hours doing what I can do in two. This recipe allows me the pleasure of making something myself with a fourth of the work. Thanks for commenting. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Phoebe - What a lovely and encouraging comment and I am glad I kept your attention; writing this sort of Hub was a first for me. :) Most of my life, my writing has been within the academic world. So writing Hubs has been interesting because it requires a different rhythm and vocabulary. But I am enjoying it as a nice counterpoint to what I have to do in my "day job." :)


LadyLyell profile image

LadyLyell 4 years ago from George, South Africa

This was a nice article to read. Thank you!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Lady Lyell. Glad you enjoyed it. I was just in the mood to try something a little different for me. :)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

"I was in graduate school and managing a household and going to classes was all I could handle." Ya' reckon?!

But that's why you were smart enough to figure out the solution to your time crunch, and it's a great solution. Thanks for sharing and for getting the wheels turning on fruit butters!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are so very welcome. As soon as I can find time, I'll post some more fruit butter recipes. :)


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great substitute, sounds really yummy too. Very interesting, "voted up"

John


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Very creative and clever.

I have never tried apple butter.

Peeling apples or using apple sauce. Hmm, I know which one I would pick. ;-)

Do you need to use mason jars?

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good evening.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks John. Its pretty good. Lots of apple and cinnamon and sweet, but without being super sweet. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sue- "Peeling apples or using apple sauce. Hmm, I know which one I would pick. ;-)" My thoughts, exactly! :)

If you plan to keep it in the refrigerator, or an unheated porch if you live where its cold, then any kind of jar with a decent lid will do. But if you want the jars to keep for a while, then they really need to be Mason jars with new lids (not new screw down rings, just lids), and processed in a water bath canner.

If you don't have a canner, in any large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pressure cooker will do. Just don't use a lid and use medium heat under the pot. High heat might crack the jars. Happy Canning. :0

Theresa


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Oh, I love apple butter... I am definitely going to have to try this. I have for the last couple of years made homemade jam. I didn't get to do it this year and I kind of miss it... well, not the chore of it, but definitely the after prodcut! Thanks for sharing this quick and easy recipe!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I have done jam in the past, but mine didn't turn out so well. :) Hope you enjoy this.


Sky9106 profile image

Sky9106 4 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

I am now hoping that Frank as sharing as I know he could be decides to share , some of what he makes . But for next Christmas I am on board.

Hubs about learning always catches the correct crowds.

Great work great story, how I love the parents.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Skye- Well, if Franks does what he said and tries it, then we shall expect him to both a Gentleman and a good Christian and share. :) Glad you are on board for next Christmas. Me too!

Between now and then, I may post a couple more "fruit- based canning recipes and then you will have to decide which one to make.....or make them all! :) Thank you for your kind words. Blessings.


Sky9106 profile image

Sky9106 4 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

No no no make them all.lol. The rate of how time literally flies, and it seems you have actually learned from the best , I will take my chances at ordering a few from what I am sure of , a great cook but the sides and pastries ? You are blowing me away with pictures. good stuff.

This is great. But I will try something simple . I got the recipe for bread pudding and I love it but I ended up making something called buns.

Bless.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Sounds delicious. Voting this Up and Interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Alocsin. It goes pretty well with anything you would put jam or preserves on. :)


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

I've never had apple butter before, but this sounds easier enough that even I may be able to make it without major issues lol.

Thanks for SHARING.


Emma Harvey profile image

Emma Harvey 4 years ago from Berkshire, UK

This sounds quite unusual to me but intriguing. I will attempt to make this recipe as I'd like to try apple butter!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Brett- You are very welcome. It really is pretty easy, much more fruit based and less sugar than jams and preserves. If you do decide to try it you might want to glance at my comments to RJ. They might be helpful as well. :)

So glad we are all SHARING.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Emma - My family likes it because it is really flavorful (kind of smells like Christmas) but it is more fruit and less sugar. Don't forget to let it cool completely before you taste test. Then you will know how thick it will be (want it thicker, just cook a little longer, but keep stirring)and if you want to adjust the sugar or add more spices. Happy Apple Buttering! :)


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I have always loved apple butter but never thought of home made. Thanks for a good idea and a good recipe!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I have always loved apple butter but never thought of home made. Thanks for a good idea and a good recipe!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are very welcome. Thanks for the comment. Its funny, I never tasted commercial apple butter until a couple of years after I started making it at home. I prefer the homemade version because it is milder and appleier tasting(new word), but I am sure there are people who prefer the commercial variety. Good luck with your apple butter. My comment to RT above has some additional hints. :)


Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

Honey and apple butter were such wonderful treats when I was young. I would love to find out about the other fruit butters, too.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I have done a ginger-apricot-peach butter, a blueberry butter (actually my favorite) and a pineapple-brown sugar butter (which sounds strange to a lot of people but it tastes like the topping on a pineapple upside down cake and it is great with crackers and cream cheese.) As time permits, I will post all of them.


Zainnisar profile image

Zainnisar 4 years ago from Little Island, Heart.

Seems delicious to me. My mom do make what we call Apple Muraba( Meaning Square in English) it is delicious and healthy but no ginger or salt rest of the recipe is same, I Will share with her.

Thanks for SHARING.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Sounds like their recipes were pretty similar. Our mothers and grandmothers know a thing or two don't they? :) Thanks for the nice comments and for Sharing. :)


Zainnisar profile image

Zainnisar 4 years ago from Little Island, Heart.

I guess our ancestors started their journey together but get departed on the way. lol.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Now I am shocked. I do not believe that I have never tasted apple butter. Looks like I need to get(make) some pronto based on the comments.

I do love these old ways of preserving and storing foodstuff. I think we lose these great ideas at our peril.

Thanks for telling us about this recipe and I will give it a try. For now I will bookmark it.

Voted up interesting and useful SHARING on Facebook.

Michael


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh, no, you are shocked! :) A lot of people have never heard of it or tried it...maybe it is a peculiarly "southern" American thing.

You can find it in grocery stores here (down on the very lowest shelf). But I never cared for it, until I made it myself, Which means you can control the sugar and spices and adjust to suit your own taste.

Jellies were always too sweet for me and I much preferred preserves which have a greater fruit to sugar content. Apple butter is like that, even more so. You are getting mostly fruit and some sugar and spice. I always felt better about feeding it to my children.

It is sad when we lose the memory of and know how of the old preserving methods. In the US at least, there seems to have been a resurgence of canning recipes and cookbooks over the last 20 years, so perhaps not all is lost. :)

Thank you for commenting, sharing and this may be my debut Hub on Facebook. :) Have a great evening. :) Theresa


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I grew up having this wonderful tasty treat almost every other day. I love the tart sweet flavor on toast. However, I have not bought some in ages and this prompts me to pick up a jar next time I am at the store. Thanks for sharing the history and recipe.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are very welcome. It was a fun Hub to write. Thanks for commenting.

And I just knew there had to be somebody out there besides me who had this when they were younger. :)


Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 4 years ago

After reading this, I realized that I had just spent however many minutes of my life reading about apple butter and came to the conclusion that things like this are what make me such a great procrastinator. I am curious, though. You may have mentioned it in class, but I wanted to ask who taught you to make apple butter, or if you just found a recipe.

It probably seems odd that I'm interested, but apple butter is a long tradition in my family, though I myself have yet to learn how to make it.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Dallas - I worked in my office until 9pm on paperwork and filing and...When I finally got home I was feeling pretty sorry for myself...a 14 hour work day! Then I had two comments on HP and one of them was from you. :) Hmmmm...so procrastination is a problem, is it?

I find that most people have never heard of apple butter, or like your family, they have been eating it for years and really like it. I spent a lot of time canning with my mother-in-law, but I don't care for jelly -way too sweet for me.

But my grandmother served us store bought apple butter when I was a child - very dark and extra spicy. So I just searched through old cookbooks until I found a couple of recipes. I made a batch and it was too strong for me, so I played with it and came up with a milder fruitier version.

You would probably like it, but it is probably quite different from what your family has had all these years. Maybe I will bring some to our last day of class party. :) Have a great weekend. :)


lrc7815 profile image

lrc7815 4 years ago from Central Virginia

Yum...apple butter....one of my very favorite tastes of autumn. What a great trick, to avoid having to peel, core, and chop apples. You can bet I'll be making a batch from your recipe. Thank you for sharing it.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are very welcome. Its a healthier alternative to jellies and jams and my family loves it anyway. :) Happy canning. :)


Patriette profile image

Patriette 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

I'll have to try this seemingly easy and foolproof recipe some day. But something you mentioned caught my attention: peach cobbler, one of my favorite pies. If your peach clobber recipe is as easy as the apple butter recipe, can you send me that recipe? Thanks so much, Theresa! Voting Up.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Patriette - It has taken me forever, but on this first day of 2013, I was determined to respond. :) Here is my grandmother's recipe for a quick and easy fruit cobbler.

Set oven at 350-375, based on whether your oven runs hot or cool. Mine is hot so I use 350 degrees.

Place a glass casserole dish or glass 8 by 8 inch pan in oven with 1/2 stick butter or margarine till it melts.

Mix well 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar and set aside.

Prepare fruit equal to 2 1/2 cups -- 1/2 cup should be liquid or juice. 2 cups berries or peaches or apples simmered with 1/2 cup water or fruit juice for 10-15 min till tender. Or large can of fruit. -- grocery store.

Gently add batter to dish once margarine/butter is completely melted. Try to distribute it evenly throughout the dish.

Gently add fruit mixture, cooled to room temperature, evenly across the top of the batter. DO NOT STIR AT ALL.

It is probably best to spoon or ladle the batter and then the fruit mixture so it is spread out evenly. Just pouring it in all at once from a mixing bowl doesn't work so well. Into the oven for 30-45 minutes ...keep an eye on it. :)

I hope this turns out well for you and I hope you have a New Year full of family and joy. :) ~~Theresa


Patriette profile image

Patriette 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

Thanks, Theresa. Hope you have a very good trip next week and a Happy New Year to you and yours. God's blessings....


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Your very welcome Patriette. You may have seen it already, but after I sent the comment to you, I kept thinking about it and turned the recipe into a Hub. And I gave you credit for asking for the recipe. :)


kitkat1141 profile image

kitkat1141 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I have always wondered how this got the name "butter". This sounds like a really easy recipe, and affordable. I will have to give it a try. Love your pictures!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you kitkat. It really is quite easy (especially compared to the traditional backbreaking "peel a bushel of apples" method which I did many times) and you can scale the amount up or down. Glad you liked the pictures . . . I had fun finding them. Of course Fall is my favorite season. :) Have a great day.


RuthieDenise profile image

RuthieDenise 2 years ago

I have got to try this recipe. My husband loves apple butter.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Ruthie - Hope your husband will like it. You can increase the spices of course or cook it lomg and slow to get it thicker and darker. My three boys like it mild and not too dark. They would spoon it onto pancakes and french roast and go to town. Blessings! Theresa

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