Monday, February 25, 2013

Organic Crock Pot Apple Butter

Here's a killer crock pot apple butter recipe that we've adapted from various other recipes. This apple butter is a definite crowd-pleaser. It's also a great introduction to preserving fruits if you've never jarred before, for a couple reasons. For one, this recipe does not require the addition of pectin, as apples contain a high amount of pectin (for those of you unfamiliar with pectin, it is used as a thickening agent in jams and jellies). Second, it's one of those wonderful stick-in-the-crock-and-forget-it recipes that make cooking oh so simple. I cannot tell you how delicious this apple butter is on top of fresh warm pancakes, or smothered over vanilla ice cream. Yum!

First off, you want to chose your apple variety. The main goal in choosing your apples is to have a balance of sour and sweet. We've got a couple different varieties of apples in our backyard, and one of them is probably a Granny Smith (based on the green freckled skin and glass-pane like flesh). This is a great apple variety to use in apple butter, because it adds a nice tart note to balance out the sweetness of the butter, and also adds some stability to the mix. We paired the Granny Smith with a sweeter apple variety (we're not exactly sure what it is, but it tastes to me like a Pink Lady) to balance out the tart flavor of the Granny Smiths. You could certainly use one or the other, just make sure to adjust the amount of sugar you add depending on what variety you chose. If you plan to use all Fuji apples, for example, you would want to cut back on the amount of sugar, as Fuji apples are very sweet. If you were to use all Granny Smiths, you would want to add more sugar to balance out all that tart flavor. In this recipe we've mixed Granny Smiths with Fujis.

  • Crock pot
  • Corer/peeler/slicer, or just a peeler and a knife
  • Immersion blender
  • One large stock pot
  • Jar lifter
  • 7-8 half pint jars with lids
  • Ladle

  • 5 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional:
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Squeeze of lemon

Let's get started! First off you want to wash your apples. Run them through a corer/peeler/slicer- like this one. If you don't have one of these contraptions, you can also just peel your apples and cut off the flesh.

Then chop your apples.

Throw your apples into the crop pot, and add the sugar and spice blend.

Cover and cook on high for one hour.Reduce heat to low and cook several hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.

Uncover and continue cooking on low for 1 hour. Puree with an immersion blender until the mixture is a smooth consistency.

Jar your ingredients. For those of you that have never done this before or need a refresher, here are the basic steps...

Wash your jars, and sterilize them in boiling water. I put them in a boiling water bath for a few minutes.
Once your apple butter is ready to pour, get your jars all in a row. Ladle the apple butter into the jars and leave 1 inch of air space. This allows the air inside the jar to expand and prevents the jars from breaking.

Place the lids on the jars and tighten them "fingertip tight," meaning just as tight as you can get them with just your fingertips. Don't really cram them on there. This allows air to escape from the jars while they process in the boiling water bath.

Process the jars in a boiling water bath.

Allow them to boil for the amount of time indicated here on this chart:

Processing Time in a Boiling Water Jarring Pot

Jar Size

Process Time at Altitudes of



Above 6,000ft

Half-Pints or Pints








Pull the jars out of the boiling water and immediately tighten the lids. This creates the airtight seal between the rubber lip of the lid and the glass jar.

Cover your apple butter jars with a towel and let them come down to room temperature overnight. At this point you may hear your jars popping, which is the sound of the air inside the jar compressing due to the rapid decrease in ambient temperature. If you don't hear the popping sound, don't worry. Sometimes we don't hear it at all. The most important thing is that all the jars are sealed and the lids are flat (not popped up) in the morning. 

Congratulations, you have just made some delicious apple butter! What's your favorite application for this delicious treat?

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