I remember my first run-in with apple butter. You see, what you need to know first is that I have a problem. If someone I know talks something up and makes it sound just so cool it’s likely that I’ll go out and try it. And by someone I know I mean friends, family, bloggers that I “know”, or authors that I respect. Which means there are a lot of things that I want to try. Yikes.
That being said, my first encounter with apple butter came after my beautiful friend Sarah mentioned that she’d spent a week with another friend of ours who ate tea and toast with apple butter for breakfast every morning. “Heather, it changed my life,” she said. And really, who can argue with that? Life-changing food is obviously an interest of mine. I wanted my life to be changed with apple butter: longer legs, straight blond hair, and a bigger paycheck at my part-time job were surely going to be benefits of this life-changing wonder-spread. It had to happen. I was going to eat apple butter for crying out loud!
OK fine. Sarah didn’t promise me those things. I jumped to conclusions, per the usual. But I DID try apple butter and I DID fall in love with it. It’s one of those things that sounds incredibly weird and then you try it and wonder why it took you so long. Then you get to the part where you think about making it…and then you find out that it’s super simple and you don’t even have to buy it anymore!
- 3-4 sweet apples (the sweeter the apple you use the less sugar you have to add)
- 2-2 1/2 cups of water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp ginger
Cut the apples into quarters, leaving the seeds and skins. Add the water (use 2 1/2 cups if using 4 apples, 2 if using 3 apples) and bring to a boil. Cover and boil on medium low heat for about 25 minutes until the apples are soft. Set aside to cool slightly. Using a wire mesh strainer add about 2 apple quarters at a time. Using a wooden spoon (or your hand if it’s cool enough) press the apple flesh through the wire strainer; you’ll have to likely scrape it off the bottom using a spoon. Once all of the apples have been pressed through add the water to the mixture and discard the skins/seeds. Add the sugar and spices to the mixture and stir. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a simmer and stir constantly. You want the mixture to thicken and turn a deep brown, but not burn. As with other preserves if you put a little dollop of the mixture onto a cooled plate it should be thick enough to not run. That’s when it’s done, so set aside and let it cool. Serve atop toast or alongside porkchops or just eat it with a spoon!