The fall has treasure of many kinds, but apples appearing everywhere is a major one. When there’s an abundance of fresh, crisp apples to chomp, we also have to think about keeping the many we can find now from spoiling when the season passes. At the moment, applesauce is a quick and easy way I’m putting away apples for later. Another method I’m about to try is apple butter making, and I ran across a wonderful idea, using the crockpot.
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.
This one wins me over, as just perfect for moving preparation out of the kitchen. Using a crockpot is ideal for keeping the longterm cooking from taking up your usual kitchen activities, and letting your busy areas stay in use.
My favorite way to use the apple butter is on toast or bagel with cream cheese.