My grandma has always made apple butter, and honestly, I’ve never really been interested in eating it or learning how to make it. It wasn’t sweet enough and I guess I put it in a “healthy” category (lol). Jelly was a different story – likely because it is chock full of sugar. But now, with jelly, I find myself trying to bring the flavors of the fruits to the forefront, and am delighted when I find a slightly tart flavor instead of being blasted with sweetness.
That said, as I get older, I think I appreciate the flavors of apple butter better. When I decided to make apple butter, I looked forward to tasting the cloves and nutmeg and cinnamon that complement the apples. I didn’t shy away from grabbing Granny Smith apples as I have in the past due to their tartness. And I’m super happy with the flavorful, equally tart and sweet, apple butter that turned out.
6 lbs of apples (Note: everyone has their own opinion of which apples are best for butters. Some are juicy and break down easier. Others are sweeter and require less added sugar. I just went for a combination of apples to try and get the deepest flavor. I used 2 lbs Red Delicious (break down easy, sweet), 2 lbs Granny Smith (combat overly sweet RDs), and 2 lbs Gala (a happy medium).
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I just crushed up whole cloves)
1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin spice in place of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
1 pinch of salt
Peel, core, and cut apples into chunks/slices. Add apples to slow cooker and mix with the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours and low for 7-8 hours. Remove the lid and cook on high for 1 hour, stirring frequently. If your apple butter has chunks remaining, pour the butter in a blender to make it smooth, or use an immersion blender. Pour butter into jars.
Notes: Cook time is subjective. The cook time determines the thickness of your butter and the richness of your flavor.
This apple butter should last in the fridge for about one month. You will need to take additional steps for canning.
This apple butter took probably thirty minutes of active time from me. On top of that, my apartment smelled amazing for the whole 12+ hours it was cooking (and if we’re honest, a little afterwards because of the spills on my counter). And if you need another reason to make this apple butter, there are so many different ways to use it! I’m going to put in sweet rolls later this week, but you can use it to cook, bake, and just eat. I may try an apple butter pork chop recipe and an apple butter donut recipe. Stay tuned!