Apple Butter

This recipe was shared with us by Heather Jones, a self described Foodie Princess, is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City (formerly Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School). She has worked for Gourmet Magazine, TV Personality Katie Brown, and the New York based Indian-fusion restaurant "Tabla". Heather resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters, where in addition to holding down a full-time job she writes for the website Cooking Up A Story, and moonlights as a private cooking instructor.

Apple Butter
Makes 6- 8oz (1/2 pint) Jars

Equipment Needed:
• Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
• Food Mill/Fine Mesh Strainer or Chinois

• 4 lbs of apples (Some people use Granny Smith (the traditional baking apple), but I like a combination of Fuji & Gala)
• 1 cup apple cider vinegar/juice/cider
• 2 cups water
• 3-4 cups sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon allspice
• The juice and zest of 1 lemon

• Sterilize jars and lids. I use the Ball method below (in Notes)
• Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them.
• Place the apples into the slower cooker along with the rest of the ingredients, stir the mixture.
• Cover and cook on high for one hour
• Reduce heat to low and cook for about 8 hours, stirring occasionally (about once an hour), until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
• When finished take the mixture and run it through the food mill or strainer to get a smooth consistency.
• Spoon into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling-water canner.
• Or, you can spoon into sterilized jars, adjust lids and store in the refrigerator.

Note: The slow cooker method works best for me for cooking the butter because I can quite literally throw everything in there and forget it, except for the occasional stirring and when you’re keeping up with two little girls that’s key.

Note: I use the classic “Ball” method for sterilizing jars, below:
Check jars, lids and bands for proper functioning. Jars with nicks, cracks, uneven rims or sharp edges may prevent sealing or cause jar breakage. The underside of lids should not have scratches or uneven or incomplete sealing compound as this may prevent sealing. Bands should fit on jars. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, dry bands. Heat jars and lids in hot water, not boiling, until ready for use.

Fill a large saucepan or stockpot half-way with water. Place jars in water (filling jars with water will prevent flotation). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep jars hot until ready for use. You can also use a dishwasher to wash and heat jars. Place lids in a small saucepan. Cover lids with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Keep lids hot until ready to use. Do not boil lids. Keeping jars hot prevents them from breaking when hot food is added. To prevent seal failure, do not boil lids. Leave bands at room temperature for easy handling.

Comments (4)

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    You thicken the apple butter by gently simmering it and gradually driving the excess water off. This takes me a long time, any kind of vigorous heat burns the apple butter, so it is a long and slow process. I find it easiest to do when I’m going to be doing something else in the kitchen so I can watch the apple butter and stir frequently but not have to stand over it. I agree that you only address the thick/thin issue after you have all your sugar and spices in. Now, boiling it down will concentrate the sugar and spices a bit, so expect that and add a bit less sugar and spice than you know you will want in the end. How much? I expect to lose maybe 25% of the total amount of apple butter when boiling it down, it is a great deal of apple butter to lose but that is what it takes.

    Katrina, it would depend on how sweet your apples are. You could reduce the sugar but I would not leave it out.

    Erin Smith, apple butter like any fruit butter should be thick. I do mine in steps. Once I have the unsweetened applesauce, I let it cool completely. The next day, I will puree it in the blender until totally smooth. I then start cooking it down again. I add my sugar in small amounts and check it every so often to make sure it is the taste I want. If you want to use this recipe, I would cook the apples down until soft then run them through the food mill. You can then refrigerate the applesauce overnight. Then puree it and cook down and add the sugar and spices. You want your apple butter still very hot when you can it.

    How thick does this apple butter recipe get? I have done apple butter for years, but every time I do it, it basically comes out as applesauce, but with more spice... I am looking for something just a little thicker.

    Can I leave out the sugar?