What to do with those old apples – APPLE BUTTER
I grew up on a 10-acre farm in the heart of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Both of my parents worked outside the home and relied on the bounty of the farm to supplement our food. Every summer the kitchen was filled with fresh picked fruit or vegetables that as a family were preserved. Sometimes my grandma Bell would be there helping. For the most part, my mom who worked nights, spent many hours during those long summer days picking and preparing food that we would enjoy all winter long. As children we would help. We would husk corn, or snap beans, cut or peel fruit. While at the time it seemed a tedious chore, I now realize it was always a labor of love.
Each fall there is an abundance of apples. We make applesauce, sometimes jelly, we dry them. So many ways to preserve and use apples. The pet pig and the goats love the scraps, so every part of the apple is consumed in some way at Almosta Farm.
My daughters favorite use of apples is apple butter. It is easy to make. The recipe we use follows.
16 medium apples (around 4 pounds)
7 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 – 3 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspsoon ground cloves
- Prepare the pulp – wash apples, remove the blossom ends, stem and major blemishes. Cut apples into small pieces. There is no reason to core or peel them. Place apples in heavy bottomed pan, add 2 cups of water and cook 25 – 30 minutes on a low heat. Check to make sure apples are soft. When apples are soft press them through a sieve or a food mill. Save the apple pulp in a bowl.
- Prepare the butter – combine the apple pulp, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a large pot. Cook slowly until it thickens to the consistency you desire. Keep the temperature low to moderate and make sure and stir frequently. Towards the end we stir without interruption. Our last batch cooked down for 35 minutes to get to our desired consistency.
- Prepare for canning – ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch or so of head space in the jar. Adjust the two-piece cap (we slightly heat the lids). Pints should be processed in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Estimated yield is about 5 pints.