Recently I was in the predicament of having too many ripe apples and not enough time to enjoy them before they became overripe. Naturally, I turned to the internet for ideas on what to do with too many apples. I wanted to find a recipe that used LOTS of apples, had few other ingredients, and was dead simple to make. I quickly stumbled upon the idea of making delicious apple butter! And the best part: I adapted it to be made in a slow cooker!
Apple Butter is so delicious, and if you don’t have apples you can use many other types of fruits to make a fruit butter (find some ideas below). A fruit butter is simply a paste or spread that is made by cooking and reducing chopped fruits. Fruit butters are similar to jams and jellies in that the ingredients are cooked for a long period of time and then made smooth by blending or straining. However, fruit butters do not need added gelatin and they typically contain less sugar.
Apple Butter has a wide variety of applications, it tastes great with many sweet and savory dishes. It is especially great with oven-roasted pork, but is also very tasty to have with breakfast toast. For instance, the sweetness of raisin toast is perfectly contrasted by the slight tartness of apple butter. In my opinion, the perfect combo!
The Basic Recipe
Here is how to get started with making Apple Butter in a slow cooker:
Start with about 6 pounds of peeled and roughly cut apples and add to a large slow cooker. There’s no perfect way to peel an apple – use a knife or use a peeler – whatever you prefer!
Add one cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (or a couple of sticks), 1 teaspoon ground cloves, a pinch of salt, and the grated rind and juice of one lemon. Stir the ingredients just enough to blend them.
Add a cup and a half of water and set the slow cooker to high for about 5 hours, and then low for about 5 hours. This is not an exact science. The goal is to get soft brown apple pieces that you can then blend. Be sure to stir and scrape down the sides of the pot periodically to prevent the apples along the edges from drying out and sticking to the pot.
If your mixture is too watery, remove the lid and cook on low for a while.
When the apples are brown, soft, and the smell is lovely, use a blender to puree the mix. I used an immersion blender right in the pot.
Next, either pour the apple butter into hot, sterilized jars where it will keep for a couple of years, or just put it in a regular container and keep it in the fridge. If you don’t sterilize the container and get a good seal, be sure to use the butter within the next two weeks.
Other Fruit Butter Ideas
This process also works well with pears, peaches, apricots, plums, or any combination of fruit that is juicy and ripe.Making fruit butter is an easy and delicious method for preserving fruit and reducing food waste. I’ve also made apple butter using orange juice, because I didn’t have enough lemon juice, and it was delicious.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe
- 6 lbs. peeled and chopped apples
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon or 2 sticks
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 1 lemon grated rind and all the juice
- Start with about 6 pounds of peeled (yes, peeled, sorry) and roughly cut apples and add to a large slow cooker.
- Add one cup of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (or a couple of sticks), 1 teaspoon ground cloves, a pinch of salt, and the grated rind and juice of one lemon.
- Add a cup and a half of water. Give a stir to distribute the ingredients evenly in the pot.
- Set the slow cooker to high for about 5 hours, scraping the sides of the pot periodically.
- Then set the slow cooker on low for another 5 hours. Cook until you get soft brown apple pieces that you can be blended.
- If your apple butter blend is too watery, remove the lid and continue to cook on low.
- When the apples are brown, soft, and smell lovely, use a blender to puree the mix. I used an immersion blender right in the pot.
- Next, either pour the apple butter into hot, sterilized jars where it will keep for a couple of years. Or you can spoon the apple butter into any lidded container and keep it in the fridge. If you don’t sterilize the container and get a good seal, be sure to use the butter within the next two weeks.
Traditionally, fruit butters were a simple and delicious way to preserve excess fruit and ensure that there would be nutritious food on hand for winter months. There are many other ways to stock your pantry with preserved foods like these preserved apples. Pickling, fermentation, jellies, jams, and salted meat are all great methods of preservation. It is very useful to have these items on hand. You never know when you may be unable to get to a grocery store!
There are many methods used all over the world for preserving foods. Even tea leaves can be fermented in a way that preserves and enhances their flavor and potency over time. Although we typically have the option to obtain fresh food and refrigerate it, preservation is a great way to cut down on food waste, too!
I had apple butter on my toast this morning and it was delicious, simple and perfect! What do you like to garnish with apple butter? Please drop me a note in the comments below!
Let’s Be Friends!