Fall recipes for Apple Butter and Elderberry juice
Mmmmm, can you smell it?
The smell of fall is in the air! The leaves are just thinking about turning, the nights are beginning to be a little cooler. Apples are just about ready for picking, apple cider, hay rides and corn mazes abound! Elderberries are ripe and juicy on the side of the roads, you would have seen them in June or July with their white flowers blooming. Now they will be hard to find, unless you know where to look. For me this time of year is perfect for Apple Butter and Elderberry Jelly. I would like to share with you the recipes for both so you too can have the taste of fall all year long!
Apple Butter - nothing like homemade!
Apple Butter - Warm, dark brown more that just applesauce - Applesauce with a kick! I like making it in a crock pot, that way the smell lasts for days in my house.
What you will need:
Fresh Applesauce about 5 quarts
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Brown sugar
2 TBSP Cinnamon
1 Tsp. Cloves
Lids and rings
Wooden spoon and Ladle
Using a large Crock Pot put in your applesauce and sugars, stir with spoon. Add your spices, being generous. I start with the mentioned amount, I may add more depending on the applesauce used. It’s all a matter of taste. Keeping the crock pot of low you can cook this as long as needed, just stirring it a couple times a day. It will need to cook at least 24 hours before it is ready.
When you feel that it is nice and dark brown, then it is time to blend. Using a blender add slowly, blend until smooth about the consistency of baby food. At this time I clean out the crock pot, then when I have it all blended I put it back in to get it to the boiling point once again. When it starts to bubble, I know it is time to put it in my clean pint jars.
Using a funnel and ladle carefully put Hot Apple Butter in jars until about ½ inch from top.
Make sure the tops don’t have any Apple Butter on them before putting lids on and sealing. Let set until they seal, then put away for a later time! This makes great gifts at Christmas time or anytime!
The before and after photos
Elderberry Juice (for jelly) -
This is a deep, dark-purple jelly, noticeably darker than grape yet with a much bolder taste! If you like grape, you will certainly LOVE Elderberry jelly. Before making the jelly you will need to make the juice.
You must first harvest your Elderberries, when doing this make sure you wear mosquito spray and have some scissors handy. I use plastic grocery bags to drop the berry spray’s in, as I am cutting them so I don’t handle them too much. These are fragile berries and will bruise easily. Discard the green ones.
To remove the berries from the spray without them getting all over I sit with a large pot on my lap. I gently remove the berries with my finger tips by rolling them back and forth.
After having all the berries removed I put the berries in a plugged sink and fill it with water, to rinse them. (This is where the icky part happens, making sure there isn‘t any spiders) After rinsing strain, put back in large pan (4 - 5 quart) put 2 Cups of water, cover and cook on medium heat. You will need to bring to a boil/simmer and cook this until all berries are squishy. Using a potato masher to mash them, from time to time. Stir to keep from sticking.
After they have simmered for 20 minutes you may remove from heat. Leave the lid on while preparing the next step.
Using several layers of cheesecloth or a white pillow case you will need to strain this. This is how I do it, you may find a more effective way. With another large pot I loosely lay on the cheesecloth and attach it to the lip of the pot with either string or a large rubber band. Then using a ladle I spoon the berries onto the cloth, it will lowly sink down, so you may find a need to tighten it a bit as you go. When all the berries are in the cloth, gather the edges and attach to something raised. I use my kitchen cupboards for this. Essentially it will be hanging over the pot, let this drip until it stops on it’s own. If you squeeze the ‘bag’ your juice may get cloudy.
(Authors note: I have tried using a ‘juicer’ for this process, the berries will gum up the juicer and you will still need to strain it)
Once you have your juice made then you can make the jelly.
I use the exact same recipe that is on the fruit pectin for Grape Jelly. Same amount of sugar as well.
You will find the juice to be slightly bitter in flavor, yet when added to sugar is quite tasty. The juice can also be used in ‘Spritzers’, mixed with a clear soft drink is really luscious.
To preserve this juice ‘as is’ , bring it to a boil and put in clean jars with new lids. This is concentrated so if using it to drink you might want to add water as well as sugar.