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Easy Apple Butter Recipe
We live in one of the largest if not the largest apple producing counties in the state of North Carolina. The old saying "An apple a day, keeps the doctor away" may or may not be true but one thing is for certain, apples are a healthy snack and there are many health benefits derived from eating this wonderful fruit. Today, thanks to science and modern agriculture research, new varieties are constantly being introduced that have uniform size and longer shelf life are available for us to enjoy.
Whether eating an apple or maybe a cobbler or pie, apples remain a favorite in our diet even without the vanilla ice cream many of us like to add to our piece of pie at Sunday dinners. Apples are not only good for snacks and pies but nothing educates a hot biscuit better than homemade apple butter.
Several years ago my wife's brother would market the cabbage he grew on his farm at a local produce stand. The stand located just off a major interstate highway and near Bloomfield's Dish Barn sold his cabbage. This produce stand is one of the largest distributors of fresh apples in this area. Mr McAbee who owns and operates this business told me it was not unusual to sell 18 tractor trailer loads of apples each week during the peak apple harvest season. Now that is a lot of apples, I don't care who is doing the math.
Mr McAbee and his staff sort through his inventory each morning and discards those apples which are beginning to break down or have brown spots and bruises. My bother in law would bring the discarded apples which were a mixture of several different varieties back to the farm and feed his livestock but before making that final stop at the pasture, he would allow us to pick through the bins for salvageable fruit. From these gleanings,my wife made apple butter always a favorite addition in our house for breakfast.
When making the apple butter she uses a crock pot. First peeling the apples, cutting away the bad spots and then slicing the remaining apple into small thin slices. The crock pot holds about two gallons when full. She then sets the temperature to low so the apple will cook slowly and as they begin to cook down,adds the cinnamon or other spices to the mixture. The natural sugars in the apples are sufficient sweetness and rarely any refined sugar is needed. Several times in the day she removes the lid to stir. The following is a recipe from the web for apple butter.
- 8 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
- 4 cups white sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fill a slow cooker with diced apples, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 hours, or until thick and dark golden in color.
- Pack into small, freezer-safe containers leaving 3/4 inch space at the top. Store in the freezer.
Saving the Apple Butter
My wife will sometimes put the apple butter into canning jars as one might do with jelly or jam in pint jars.The apple butter will remain fresh and easy to store in the pantry. Beware, when a jar of her apple butter is opened it will soon be emptied. She enjoys giving the pint jars as gifts to friends and family and often will dress up the jars with a decorative ornament, a paper doily or a bow.
Folks love to get these as gifts. Apple butter is best on a hot biscuit (my opinion) but if you don't have a good cook and have to settle for toast, English muffin, or even a bagel, the apple butter will charm your buds. For those who like a more tart apple butter reduce the sugar to your personal taste and add allspice if you like instead of the cinnamon.