One of the last preserving tasks of the year is the making of the apple butter. This year the task had extra meaning because a friend of mine donated a milk crate full of organic apples to the cause. Yay!
I arrived on the farm bright and early on Saturday morning and mom and I dove into the job.
My father loves canning time too. Although he’s not a canner himself, he hangs around the kitchen and supervises the process. He has never said, but I think canning time reminds him of his childhood: he grew up in the farm house. So did his mother. So did his grandmother. A lot of canning has taken place in that old kitchen.
Making apple butter is pretty easy: just wash all the apples, core them and cut them into chunks. The apple slices go into the pot with just a little bit of water to keep them from burning.
When the apples are cooked down to a nice soft mush (after much stirring and temperature adjusting) we put them through a sieve/Chinois/china hat using a worn wooden pestle— the same set that has been in my family for generations. This removes the skin and any bits of core that might be in the mush.
I should have taken a picture of our antique sieve, but here is an example of a new one.
Next we measured 16 cups of apple mush and added sugar, cinnamon (of course we used our favorite Spice House cinnamon) and some apple cider. That’s all it takes (along with a lot of time) to make the magical fall ambrosia called apple butter. In the picture below you can see that we started out with a full pan, and as the butter cooks down, the apple butter gets thicker and sweeter. Oh my. I love this stuff. Have you ever had the apple butter at Cracker Barrel? It’s good, right? This is 100 times better!
Mom and I ended up with 18 jars of apple butter. Cindy does not care for it — whoo hoo! I do not have to share!
Here is an apple butter recipe that works in a crock pot.
Quilting will commence after I take the biscuits out of the oven and devour a jar of the butter — don’t judge — we call it quality control!