It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that apple butter was, in fact, not a variation of butter. While butter it was not, I found it was still utterly fantastic slathered on a piece of toast, or on top of brie and a cracker. Apple butter has become one of my favorite things to stock up on during the fall season when it’s plentiful at farmer’s markets, orchards and local grocery stores. I’ve had friends tell stories about churning apple butter at fall festivals, which has always made apple butter seem like an utterly daunting task. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how incredibly easy it could be, and I wasted no time making a batch once apple season was in full swing.
There are a couple of different methods you can use to make apple butter. This particular one is simmered overnight in a slow cooker, then pureed with an immersion blender. It’s a “refrigerator” version, meaning that you should use it within a couple of weeks or freeze it, and is not meant for long-time storage. If you are interested in a recipe suitable for canning and long-term storage, I recommend the Apple Butter Recipe from Simply Recipes.
I currently have a jar in the refrigerator, a jar in the freezer for a brie appetizer on Thanksgiving, and a handful more jars earmarked for family and friends to enjoy. What’s your favorite way to eat apple butter?
An easy recipe for Apple Butter, made right in your slow cooker!
6½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.
2. Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.
3. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape.
4. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.