"It's like apple pie in a jar!" J said to me after he tasted my apple butter this morning. People, by now you know that I am all about the holidays & seasons. I am not afraid to celebrate & a change of weather or holiday is a perfect excuse. Fall is creeping up on us here in the desert now that the October heatwave is fading. Mornings are becoming more crisp & the evening sun sets more quickly these days.
One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to make my annual trip to Gilcrease Orchard back in Vegasland. I started this last year with Collin & my sister & we loved it. It was a little taste of Michigan right there in the desert. They have apple trees, pear trees & tons of other veggies & fruits to pick. Naturally, they have pumpkins there too. They also sell apple cider & cider donuts!
This year, Collin was hanging with his Daddy, so J & I went with just Aiden. Little dude was a pro at apple picking. He picked us eleven pounds of apples. Eleven pounds. Good thing I was raised with the know how to cook & bake because coming up with recipes for eleven pounds of apples was a cinch!
Sure, we had a few afternoons of sliced apples & peanut butter for a snack & of course I made an apple pie, but for the most part I knew exactly what to do with every single one of those apples: apple butter.
Before embarking on apple butter, know this: your entire house. Every crevice of your home. Will smell like fall. Cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y, apple-y fall. And you'll love it.
I received a few requests for my recipe after people saw my IG feed (hollysosa) fill with photos of diced up apples & a full crock pot, so I decided to share it here.
Ingredients you'll need: a dozen apples (I used granny smith), white sugar, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves & salt (not pictured).
Directions: Peel, dice & core all your apples & toss those bad boys in your crock pot. In a medium bowl, mix four cups of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, a whole teaspoon of cinnamon & 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Once the sugar mix is well distributed, pour it over top of your apples & mix well. Cook everything on high for an hour to get things going. After an hour, go stir everything up (you'll see it getting watery) & then turn the heat down to low & cook an additional 9-10 hours stirring every couple of hours. The additional time really depends on your apples. These ones were really dense & actually took me close to 12 hours until they were done. Lots of people start this at night or first thing in the morning since it needs a lot of time to cook. When it's done, the apples will be cooked down almost completely. There may be a few chunky pieces here or there, but for the most part, it will look sort of grainy & super dark brown (almost black, even). This recipe makes a little over two medium sized mason jars full.
For those who have never had apple butter or don't know it's uses (I'm pretty sure this is more of a mid-west thing), it's used on tons of stuff! My grandpa used to warm some up & put it on vanilla ice cream. My Dad always used it on his toast in the fall. I love it mixed in with my oatmeal. Some people just eat it straight out of the can in a bowl (it's essentially just a sweeter, condensed version of applesauce). I also know people who cook with it on their pork chops & I've made an easter ham using it as a glaze. Another idea I've seen, but haven't tried is to heat up some four tortillas in oil & put the apple butter inside as a dessert.
Apple butter is fall in a jar. It is a fun, cheap & easy fall treat for the kids, too.