Apple butter takes me right back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amish country where I first sampled this thick, spice infused goodness. The laundry, hung out to dry, gently swayed in the wind next to rows and rows of corn that summer morning. A buggy driven by a stately man dressed in all black with the Amish style beard waved as he rode by. I couldn’t help but feel that I had stepped back into time, and for a moment I, too, was an Amish woman, getting ready for my morning chores and the barn raising later that afternoon.
For those 5 minutes, I really thought I’d try to fall in love with an Amish man and join this simpler, peaceful way of life. I have this strange fascination with the Amish, and I kind of want to be one…. because they love each other so well, they help one another, they hold to unwavering faith, and best of all, they make amazing apple butter.
But then I remembered my iPhone and gas fireplace, and decided that Amish living is best lived from afar.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t fully enjoy their recipes and down-home style of cooking. While there are many recipes I love from Amish country, this apple butter is at the top of my list – I just changed it a bit to accommodate the good ol’ crock pot!
Traditional apple butter recipes often call for homemade applesauce to begin the recipe. If you’ve ever made homemade applesauce, it’s hard work, and reducing the liquid gold down to apple butter steals the valuable contents. This recipe is made from the whole apples directly, so there isn’t that extra (hard) step of turning it to applesauce ahead of time. That’s a big deal to those of us who deal in homemade apple goodness.
Step 1: Find the best apples available (preferably locally farmed and picked)
We are incredibly blessed in the inland northwest to have Green Bluff right in our backyard. This is a swath of rich land filled with orchards, pumpkins, and local farms. They are known for some of the best apples in the country. Picking apples on the Bluff is a beloved tradition for countless families in our area.
Step 2: Peel (optional), core, and slice the apples
I often don’t peel the apples for the nutritional value. The skin has the most nutrients. However, you will get a less rustic, more smooth butter if you peel them first.
Step 3: Place ingredients in the crock pot, cook, then puree.
Let cook for 8-10 hours. Remember that apples have varying water content depending on type and soil conditions each year. You may need to cook it more or less depending on your apples. Go for consistency. I puree my mixture when it has been in the crock pot for around 10 hours – you can do this with an immersion blender or just transfer the mixture to a blender. I cool a sample size and look at consistency. Cook it until it has the texture you like best. I like it to be thick, but still able to drip from a knife.
Step 4: Adjust seasonings or sweetness and ladle into jars
You may prefer your butter a bit spicier, or sweeter. Go ahead and adjust the seasonings to your liking then ladle into clean jars. From this point you can either can them in a water bath or put them in the freezer. If you freeze your jars, be sure to leave enough headspace so the jars won’t overflow or explode.
Enjoy this delicious fall favorite inspired by my time spent in Amish country.
6 lbs. mixed variety apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 3/4 cups apple cider
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Place all ingredients in the crock pot and mix well. Cook on the high setting for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically. Turn the crock to low and cook 7-8 more hours. Puree with an immersion blender, or an upright blender for a smooth consistency.
I am thankful and honored that you are allowing me to take a virtual seat in your home! I promise to give my best in adding value to your life through my blog. You will find mouth watering recipes, helpful tips, and intriguing ideas. We will also authentically discuss faith, family and living well.