I love buying fresh apple butter from local orchards but this year I thought I would make my own since we now have a couple trees with our new home. Score! This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes and is amazing!
*4 lbs of cooking apples
* 1 cup apple cider vinegar
* 2 cups water
* Sugar (See directions for amount)
* Pinch salt
* 2 tsp Cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground Cloves
* 1/2 tsp fresh grated Nutmeg
* 1 oz Lemon juice
5-8 (8 oz) canning jars
Wash your jars, lids and screw bands in hot soapy water and rinse.
Using a tall stock pot add jars, lids and screw bands and fill with enough water to cover 1-2 inches about top of jars. Set stove to simmer and cover.
In a large add vinegar and water. Without peeling or coring the apples, cut them into quarters and add them to the pot. According to the recipe, most of the natural pectin in in the skin and core which is why you leave it intact. Bring pot to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and cook down for about 20 minutes until apples are soft. Remove from heat.
Ladle apple mixture into a fine mesh strainer or sieve. I used a wooden spoon and my ladle to smash and stir the pulp and mixture through the strainer into a pot below.
When you have finished processing all your apple mixture, measure the puree into a wide, heavy bottom pot. For each cup of puree, add 1/2 cup sugar, (I had 8 cups of puree so I added 4 cups of sugar). Add spices, salt and lemon juice to the puree and stir to mix well.
Cook puree uncovered on med low heat, stirring consistently to prevent sticking. Make sure to scrap the bottom of the pot to prevent a crust from forming. Cook for 1-2 hours. If you can not stand over your pot for an hour or two, turn heat down a pinch so it is still bubbling, but when you stir it, you find it is not sticking to the bottom. Turning the heat down will cause the cooking time to increase but not by much. When puree is cooked down and has thickened, remove from heat.
Remove your jars from the simmering water and set them on a paper towels for easy cleanup. Quickly ladle the apple butter into the jars to within 1/4 inch from the top, any less and you will not get a proper seal. Wipe the rims and threads of the jars clean, then place the lids and tighten the screw bands. Be careful, jars are HOT!
Carefully add jars back to the simmering water making sure they are standing up right. If your water is not 1-2 inches above your jar lids, add extra hot water. Once all jars have been added cover and bring pot to a gentle boil. Once the boil is reached set your timer for 10 minutes.
Once your 10 minutes are up carefully remove the jars from the pot. Place your jars on the counter on a towel or I used my wooden cutting board, and leave them undisturbed until cool. I let mine sit on the counter overnight.
After the jars have completely cooled check the lids to see if your jars sealed. Press down in the center of the lids. If it springs back and makes that popping sound, they are not sealed. However, no spring back....your golden!