I realize up until recently,I’ve been pretty anti crock-pot. I feel like they make it too easy to just dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot without any skill, you just walk away and it’s good! Is there such a thing as too easy? But you know what, sometimes you need those no-maintenance meals, I get it…I guess. Enough bitterness, this isn’t a soup or a meal…so I don’t feel like I fit the mold for my complaints!
I grew up on Apple Butter, we used to go to the annual city craft show every year, and the one thing we would consistently get year after year was ‘Grandmothers’ brand Apple Butter. There was tiny picture of an old lady in a chef hat, in blue print, always easy to remember her by her cute labels. The craft show wasn’t overly kid-friendly, and I felt like this $3.79 purchase every year, WAS MINE. Cheap and edible entertainment…that doesn’t sound like me at all….does it… *cough*!
Turns out, it takes almost zero skill to make a batch of apple butter, put a few things in a pot…wait. ha! I did do some apple research for this recipe post however. Most recipes you’ll notice, never specify the types of apple that they or can be used. For someone who doesn’t mess in the kitchen very often, this can be frustrating, I’ve been there. I know many people are GREAT at following recipes, but when there becomes a choice of option, panic ensures!
Here were my findings: Do not use all of the same kinds of apples. Different apples have different amounts of sugar/sweetness, tartness, and soft/hard texture. You definitely want the ones that are less mushy, but other than that as long as you mix it up a bit, use whatever kind you want! If you’re a more tart fan, use tart apples, if you like the sweeter apples use those… real complicated huh 🙂 Some recipes (like Martha Stewart) use Apple Cider, in place of some of the sugar, you can also substitute Apple Juice for this if you want. (huge price difference). I have not attempted the recipes that use actual stick butter, in apple butter. From what i found this is a no-no, however I’m sure I’ll have to try it sometime just to cross it off the list.
I do think it’s important to list out the apples you use because it depends on how much sugar you’ll need to add. If you’re using very sweet apples, you can overkill on the sugar (found this out the hard way). It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely a little sweeter than I had wanted, or at least compared to the childhood Apple Butter I remember, that was more savory and had just a touch of tart.
** Have you noticed a trend lately of adding a splash and/or a shot of whiskey to almost everything. I cook the alcohol out (I’m not boozing it up), but I love the flavor. I add it to my french toast batter and to my chili…why wouldn’t you right?! 🙂
Crock-pot Apple Butter
5 lbs of apples (i used 3 Gala’s and 3 Granny Smith-mix of sweet and tart) –These need to be peeled and chopped.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1. Peel and chop your apples, discarding the skin and core. Place in the crock-pot.
2. Add all of the remaining ingredients over the top of the apples, mix up very well.
3. Set your crock-pot for about 8 hours on low. By the end, the mixture will be thick and dark, you’ll still be able to see the apple chunks, but they should be a consistency where you can squish it with a fork or a spoon.
4. I used my stick blender to puree the mixture from here. If you don’t have one, a food processor or blender can substitute just fine. You want it to be a consistent smooth texture.
5. You can “can” these if you want, I did not. Shelf life refrigerated is about 2-4 weeks in the fridge, or months in the freezer. I ended up with almost 3 cups of apple butter!
** I’ve noticed a trend lately of adding a splash or shot of whiskey to almost everything. I cook the alcohol out, but I love the flavor.