When I got home from work last night I finished prepping the six pounds of apples I had started on that morning in order to make "Crockpot Apple Butter". The recipe is from www.oldworldgardenfarms.com where I was actually looking for some insight into canning. Being an east coast transplant I noticed the Apple Butter recipe and my mouth started to water. For those of you not familiar with Apple Butter it is like adding apple saucy apple pie to your warm buttered toast. Yummmm!
The end result is wonderful. I used Granny Smith apples because they were what was available in the store and it's best to use a tart apple. I had asked a friend if he knew anyone who had apples for sale where he lives over in farming country, but we really are past the season, so store bought it was! The hardest part of this recipe is the almost 13 hours it requires to do it's thing. I pondered my approach for a bit and figured overnight on a work night was best since I would be getting up early the next day anyway. Also, it's pretty comforting to sleep in a house that smells like apple pie all night long. When my alarm went off in the morning I stumbled into the kitchen to take the cover off the crockpot for the last hour of cooking and then went about my workday ritual. When I emerged from the back of the house I lined up the jars I had sterilized the night before, got the immersion blender out and got to pureeing. The recipe says to use a food mill but I don't have one, so it was a toss up between the food processor and immersion blender. The blender ultimately won out because it was easiest to clean in the end. I'm not too proud to admit that... NOTE: The one thing I want to warn everyone about is that the blender created a kind of suction along the bottom of the crockpot and when it would let go, hot apple butter would go flying. PLEASE be very careful if you choose this route.
Once the apples were pureed I used a ladle to scoop up the mixture and pour it into the jars. The jars are so small that using a funnel seemed like overkill. My yield was about twelve half pint jars. I only had nine actual jars so I am guessing here. I did not "can" this batch. I didn't have the time and I feel that in this small of a jar everyone will use it up rather quickly. I did, however, have time to enjoy warm apple butter on my toast, along with a cup of tea. You can't get much better than that!
The best part of this whole process is that it was made with love. My little guy was watching me go through the process and was very excited to take a jar to school to give to his aide. Homemade goodies make everyone smile. You, the cook, may be a bit tired after the whole process, but I promise you will still be smiling at everyone's joy when you share the love.
Now that I have apple butter, it seems like a no brainer that I should make home made English Muffin Bread to go with it. We'll see how I'm feeling. I still have rocks to move in the garden this weekend...