Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Butter - for Canning
I love making this in the slow-cooker!!! and if you don't want to water-bath can, you can refrigerate the butter for 2-3 months, or freeze for up to a year. One of my most popular recipes and people love it. I use this fruit butter to top warm oatmeal and homemade ice cream, top off cakes and cobblers, blend into baked goods - like my Apple Galette dessert. A lot of folks comment that they love this so much, they eat it directly from the jar with a spoon. Any way you spoon it - this stuff is GOOD! ~Enjoy! Diane
Yield: About 6 half-pints or 3 pint jars.
6 pounds apples, cored and peeled, cut into quarters **
2 cups apple cider
4 cups water
1 cup sugar (you can use 1/2 white 1/2 brown sugar if preferred)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
**A word about Apples: keep in mind - the sweetness or tartness of the apples you choose, will flavor the finished product significantly. (see below)
Spiced "Sweet" Apple Butter
I prefer using "sweeter" apples such as Braeburn, Red Delicious, and Honeycrisp with Gala and Fuji. being the sweetest apples and my most requested combination.
Spiced "Tart" Apple Butter.
Use Granny Smiths and Cripps Pinks for a tart finish to your product.
Start on the stove top: Put the peeled, cored apples in a 6- or 8-quart heavy-bottomed pan. Add the cider and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat (Add in the cinnamon sticks and star anise, these will be removed after boiling) Keep mixture at a medium-high boil, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely broken down and the apples are soft, 30 to 40 minutes.
Into the slow cooker: Carefully remove the cinnamon sticks and star anise with a slotted spoon. Pour the softened apple mixture from your pot into a 6-quart slow cooker, and stir in the sugar and spices. Puree with immersion blender. Cook on the "Low" setting with the lid propped up or set askew to allow the liquid to evaporate for 9 to 12 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and dark.(Keep in mind different slow cookers cook at different temperatures.)
My motto is - "You know your apple butter is ready when you can stand a large spoon up in it without the spoon falling over - otherwise, you just have applesauce."
Onto canning: Place the slow cooker on high for 10-15 minutes, ladle hot apple butter into sterilized, hot canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Apply a new lid and tighten down with band, process for 10 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner (or according to your altitude) Carefully remove the jars from the canner to a draft free spot (I place mine on a towel lined cookie sheet on my counter top) and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 2-3 hours, check to see that the lids have sealed, and immediately refrigerate any jars that haven’t sealed. After 24 hours, remove bands, wash jars, label and store in pantry for up to 1 year.
Recipe & Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home