This is a rather large recipe for apple butter. It has to cook for so long that it is more practical to make a large batch and then can it for later use or give it away as gifts. If you don’t want to can it, make half the recipe and store it in the refrigerator. It keeps a long time, about 1-2 months.
8-9 # organic apples
2 C. organic apple juice (unsweetened and unfiltered)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 Tb. lemon rind from one lemon (optional)
1 Tb. fresh lemon juice (optional)
½ C. packed brown sugar (optional)
- Use 8# of nice apples or 9# of imperfect apples. Trim off any bad parts, but do not peel unless they are waxy. Core and cut the apples in 4 or 8 large pieces. You should get about 7# of prepped apples or 7 quarts (28 cups).
- Place the prepped apples in a large, thick-bottomed pot with the apple juice. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 40 minutes or until soft. Puree in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth. If you have very dry apples, add a little water if needed to make an applesauce consistency.
- Add the remaining ingredient and cook on low or medium low heat, partially covered, with the lid ajar, for 2 to 6 hours or until it reaches the desired thickness. Stir every half hour to prevent sticking.
- Ladle the hot apple butter into jam jars, 1-1½ C. If canning, place lids on and process them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. If not canning, place lids and bands on, let them cool on the counter, then refrigerate.
- For extra holiday spiced apple butter, increase to 1 Tb. cinnamon and 1 tsp. cloves.
- If you don’t have allspice, use 1 Tb. cinnamon total.
- For unsweetened apple butter, use a sweet apple variety and omit the brown sugar.
- If you have less sweet apples, add the brown sugar and more to taste.
- The optional lemon and/or lemon rind can be added to “brighten” the apple butter if it starts tasting too caramelized from the long cooking time. It can help balance the sweetness and add a more complex although less traditional taste.