How to make apple butter?

triciaeAugust 28, 2012

I've got a bushel of mixed early apples. I'm going to first make applesauce but then I want to make apple butter from about half of the sauce. I don't own a crock pot. Will it be okay to use a LC Dutch oven (lid on sideways to allow evaporation) in my regular oven? What temp? 180? 200? How long? Just "tell it's done"?

Thanks for the assist.


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Perhaps this information and recipe from the National Center for Home Food Preservation will help you out.


Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation - Apple Butter

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Applesauce is done & I've seasoned it for apple butter. It's going in the oven at 200 degrees. I'll check it every so often until I get a feel for how fast it's reducing. Hope I don't burn it.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:10PM
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The local Mennonite community make it and sell it roadside and farmers markets. My favourite apple butter has pumpkin in it.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Thanks, grainlady. I cooked the apples skin, cores and all then ran it thru the Foley. Used a bit of allspice, nutmeg (not a fan of cinnamon), small pinch of cloves, honey, 2 TBLS of KA's boiled cider to season. It tastes good, so far. I'm not going to can - will freeze. The how to tell when it's done info was very useful, thanks.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Yummm! I really should make some too. DH worked at an apple butter company while in college in Kansas; since then he won't touch the stuff. I'll bet if I made it and he saw that I didn't use worms, cores, or rotten apples he would eat it.

*I know processing requirements have changed since way back then but he still refuses to eat store bought. Not a big deal that he doesn't eat apple butter but obviously the experience left him scarred as he was talking about it just last week.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Cathy, that would leave me scarred also! Ick. Yuck. Ewww.

I'm not really expecting to use this much as a spread. Mostly, I'm thinking of it as a baking ingredient and as a sauce/glaze base for pork. Busy day today - roasted 4 trays of tomatoes early this morning and have a 9-tray and a 5-tray dehydrator full of toms going also. Made our daily batch of salsa and thinking about starting a batch of tom sauce since the Foley is still on the countertop.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Wow! You are on a roll.

*I hope we can get up to NH for leaf peeping and your way this fall.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Here's the apple butter recipe I use, from Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook. It really is especially good.

The original recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar. I use 2.

Apple Butter

3 quarts fresh cider
8 lbs. apples [red-skinned]
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Boil the cider until reduced by about half. Add the apples, quartered and cored but not peeled.

Cook over low heat until the apples are tender. Stir often. When the apples are cooked, force the mixture through a sieve. [A food mill makes this much easier.] Return to the kettle.

Add sugar, spices, and salt. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. Stir almost constantly.
Test for doneness by putting a little on a cold plate. When no rim of liquid separates around the edge, it is thick enough.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I used to put mine in the oven. If I wasn't in a hurry I used 250F, if I was impatient, I'd crank it up to 350F, but then had to watch to make sure it didn't "caramelize". I stir about once an hour or so.

Now I put it in the Nesco Roaster with the lid ajar and just cook it until it's as thick as I like it. Sometimes apples are sweeter than others and so I add half the sugar, taste and then adjust.

I like it with brown sugar because I like the flavor more and I like extra cloves. Again, it's a personal taste thing.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:00PM
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I have a recurring love affair with "a whiff of cardamon"....add it to jams, morning coffee!!
I'll bet it would be wonderful in apple butter....just a you say..."hmm....what IS that?"

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Could someone come up with a safe apple butter with pumpkin it it to can?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:42PM
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I left it at 200 degrees. It was as done as I was going to let it get at 5:00 a.m. The house smelled wonderful all night so I woke up starved! It could have used a bit more sweetener but since I'll be using it as an ingredient less sweet is probably better than too much. Fun experiment for $10 worth of apples.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 4:06PM
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There are "safe" recipes for pumpkin apple butter, but they need to be refrigerated, not canned. The recipe linked below is nice because it uses a can of pumpkin and makes 2 cups that can easily be used up in the recommended 2-months.

As a pretty good guideline for food safety, if you can't find a recipe in Ball Blue Book (short or long version) or the National Center for Home Food Preservation, then chances are there isn't a TESTED recipe for it.

I think I'll make this recipe tomorrow to use on waffles I'm making Friday morning. The mixture of pumpkin and apples makes me think autumn can't be far off now....;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Pumpkin Apple Butter

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I think many are looking forward to fall. That's how I acquired the apples since I normally don't get apples until mid-September thru October. :)

My DDIL called this morning all weepy 'cause the G-kids went back to school today. She sent a pix of them waving to Gramdma from the bus. Hard to believe it's Labor Day weekend already. I'm ready for a pot roast!


    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Reporting back about the recipe I linked above. I made the Pumpkin Apple Butter yesterday in my Solar Hot Pot, which was the perfect Solar Oven for it since it's a large bowl. Enjoyed it on the Sprouted Lentil-Oat Waffles we had for breakfast this morning. ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Household Energy

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Grainlady, your waffles sound interesting. My enjoyment of all things lentil is rather 'forced', I'm afraid. Just not sure I could handle them in a waffle. The oats sound yummy though.

I read your link for the solar oven. I did some experimenting with solar cooking when we lived in Colorado. I rather enjoyed the process but it seemed a bit fiddley and tested my patience. :)

Unfortunately, in Mystic solar cooking is not reliable. I don't know if it's our latitude, location right on LIS, or the thick tree cover but we just don't have enough sun for solar. Here's what it frequently looks like here...

Not good for solar. :)


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 8:10AM
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I live in Kansas and we average about 200+ sunny days and another 90-100 partially sunny days per year. About the only time of the year I have a problem using my solar ovens is when the farmers burn the wheat stubble after harvest and there is too much haze in the sky for good cooking temperatures - even on a sunny day - but that's only for a couple weeks a year.

Cooking the Pumpkin Apple Butter outdoors was a good move yesterday because it was 97-degrees F and it was good to keep the heat out of the kitchen for 1-1/2 hours....

Yes, solar ovens require your attention to move them every 30-60 minutes to track the sun. Keep in mind too, not everything needs to cook/bake for long periods of time. I also have a Tulsi Hybrid Solar Oven (a favorite of Missionaries in the field in 3rd World Countries) which has an electric over-ride so you don't risk the temperature going below an unsafe cooking temperature if you don't get it moved in a timely manner, or if clouds come in. At that point, just think of it as a electric Slow-Cooker.

You would never know there are lentils in the waffles. Hubby didn't the first time I served them (LOL) and now they are a once-a-week favorite. Sprouted lentils are a little sweeter than cooked lentils and the lentils are well-blended into the batter in a blender - so no whole lentils present.


Soak overnight:
1 c. water plus 2 T. kefir (or whey, yogurt, or lemon juice)
3/4 c. oatmeal

The next morning blend the water/oatmeal with 1/2 c. sprouted lentils (I soak the oatmeal in my Bullet Blender cup, add the lentils the next morning and blend, when making a single recipe).

1/4 c. whey protein isolate (or any kind of protein powder)
1 T. vanilla
1 T. chia seeds (optional)
1/2 T. coconut oil (melted)
1/2 T. agave nectar or coconut nectar (or sugar of choice)
1/4 t. salt

I make these on my thin heart-shaped waffle iron, 1/4 c. batter per waffle. This size fits in my toaster. When I make two or three batches at once I'll use my Ninja blender for the batter and freeze the baked waffles.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Well, okay. You've got me interested and I certainly have enough lentils. :0)

How long do you sprout the little devils for? 2 days?

We'll have the waffles Sunday before church and heading to the farmer's market. Our peaches were awsome this year and I made some peach syrup (intended for CORNMEAL waffles - chuckle). Do lentil waffles and peach syrup sound good? :( lol

You have had such an incredibly hot summer. Our normal July temp is 81 degrees and I melt. It's been warmer than usual this year but I'm embarrassed to complain considering what the midwest has endured. :(

My garden would fry in your sunshine. Here hydrangeas, hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts, etc. are "full sun" plants and our property has very little of that "full sun" because of the trees.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:33AM
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It only takes a day or two (three at most if the ambient temperature is really cool) to sprout lentils, after an overnight soak. A short tail (sprout) is fine unless you like the sprout longer - your choice. Sprout 1/4 to 1/2 c. dry lentils (pick through them and then wash before sprouting) and you'll have some left to toss on your green salad, add to taco meat or your stir-fry. I occasionally use sprouted lentils in chili instead of beans, add them to a pot of soup, or will apply a spice mixture of choice (Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Southwest Chipotle) and dehydrate them and use as a snack food. Sprouted and dehydrated lentils cook really fast.

When you toast the waffles in your toaster the scent of vanilla fills the air. I occasionally use the waffles for a vegetarian dinner on Friday night and topped them with peaches, blueberries or apple/raisin mixtures, and now the new favorite - Pumpkin Apple Butter. I don't think you could go wrong with peach syrup :-) - sounds wonderful.

The next time I make the recipe I'm going to use almond flour instead of whey protein isolate and add almond flavoring. I never met a recipe I couldn't tweak....(LOL)

Mmmmmmm - Cornmeal Waffles - what a great use for freshly-milled cornmeal. I was looking at the recipe linked below as inspiration for a possible meatless Friday dinner.

My garden did fry :-( (38 days 100-degrees or higher), and now my fall crops are being destroyed by pests..... (not uncommon after a hot/dry summer). I had all this lovely lettuce, spinach and turnip greens looking great, and this morning it was all gone (Mr. Rabbit, I assume).


Here is a link that might be useful: Joy the Baker - Cornmeal and Chive Waffles

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:33PM
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Those waffles and chives with the salsa sound great. We would both love 'em. I've been making a batch of fresh salsa every day since the heirloom tomatoes started ripening so this recipe is perfect for September!

Oh, I'm so sorry about your garden. We are having bunny issues also. We are a certified wildlife habitat and so, obviously, we are organic and have planted to provide food, shelter, water, and serve as the local "Home Depot" for nest building. That was great while we were ornamental gardens...didn't mind loosing a few blooms here and there. Now, with the veggies - well, not so much. So, what to do??? What to do??? I decided we would try the Havahart motion detector water sprayer to 'discourage' munching the wrong plants. Well... The morning after the FIRST night DH set the contraption up we get an early morning email title "Death at the Doorstop" Here's their email to us...

"Wouldn't that be a great book title? But what I'm getting at is telling you : you have a dead rabbit in the road by your house. Now, I'm not making any accusations, but if forced to testify, I would have to reveal the animosity you've expressed for the poor animal. You might want to try hiding the body.

Couldn't resist teasing you!

Stay cool; heat wave is on!

The rabbit appeared to have been attacked by a raptor but we'll NEVER live it down in the neighborhood. We are the rabbit killers forever. :(


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:05PM
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What a HOOT!!! "Death at the Doorstop" sounds like a case for Agatha Christy's Miss Marple. -Grainlady

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:47PM
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We live in the foothills of the Sandia mountains with wildlife strolling through the property regularly. We see deer eating the apricots from the tree, rattlesnakes curled up in the sun and rabbits, rabbits, rabbits! We have a wall around the garden which the rabbits jump to eat the grass, apples low to the ground, and tomatoes.

One evening, DH picked up a small stone and threw it at the bunny. It hit it in the side. The rabbit, now on the other side of the wall, sat stunned for a few seconds, then took off through the bush. It must have told its friends because they stayed away for a few weeks. Last night we saw one in the yard again. Sigh.

We also have flocks of quail who lay waste to everything. 40 or 50 of them will jump down from the wall and eat everything green. DH thinks this is funny. I dream of trapping the wildlife and having rabbit and quail for thanksgiving.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 4:22PM
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