My partner just took possession of a 100 acre farm. On our first visit up north to the property we discovered several mature apple trees and to our delight the trees were loaded with McIntosh apples! Apples are my favourite fruit. I love that I can buy organic, LOCAL apples from August right through into the winter months because they store well in a specific controlled environment. Unfortunately, McIntosh are not really my first choice of apple (crispy Cortland are my favourite) but that doesn’t mean these apples will go to waste. There are lots of ways to use up a bushel.
If you have some ambition and time you may consider whipping up some apple butter. As the name implies this condiment does not contain butter. Apple butter is basically the highly concentrated form of apple sauce. The apples are slowly cooked with water (or apple cider) to the point where the apple sugars caramelize. The sugars give the apple butter a long shelf life. The name “butter” refers to its soft, thick consistency. We plan to keep a couple jars for our cupboard and then give the rest away as gifts throughout the year.
What are some of the things you can do with apple butter?
- - Baking: substitute refined white sugar with apple butter
- - Sweetener: add a tablespoon to plain, organic kefir or yogurt
- - Spread: set out as a spread with other hor d’oeuvres such as cheese or crisps or put on a sandwich for some extra flavour
- - Salad dressing: combine ¼ cup apple butter with 1 ½ tbsp oil, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp of grainy mustard, salt and pepper
- - Add a tablespoon to your morning oatmeal or Quinoa Breakfast
- - Toast 1 cup of pecans and then add 1 tbsp apple butter and sea salt while the pecans are still hot. Let the pecans coo.l Add to a salad or eat as a snack.
Healthy Homemade Apple Butter
(no sugar added)
- 20 medium sized apples (choose a sweet variety like Macs)
- 2 cups unsweetened apple juice or 5 apples juiced or apple cider
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of sea salt
- Place cored and sliced apples (not peeled) into a large crock-pot / slow cooker.
- Add water, apple cider, apple cider vinegar and spices. Stir all ingredients together, cover pot and let it cook for 15 hours on low.
- The liquid will reduce and the apples will be very soft, darker in color, and smell lovely. Turn the crock pot off and let the apples cool down a bit (about 30 minutes), then transfer the mixture into a blender (or use a hand/stick blender) and blend until completely smooth.
- Let the apple butter cool and then transfer into storage containers. It should store well in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
- Alternatively, you can store long-term by using proper canning techniques. Here is a link to a youtube video for proper canning instructions: Canning!
- Or you can use the freezer method to store longer term. Fill 8, 1/2 pint, freezer-safe canning jars, put the lid on, let them cool and then place all the jars you wish to store into the freezer.