I know some of you may be turned off by canning. It seems too difficult, old-fashioned, or you may think you will contaminate your family. Just read this through and see what you think. Nothing like a good HomeMade Apple Butter in the Crockpot!
Plus it is super simple, inexpensive, delicious and makes a great homemade gift.
What is the main difference between apple butter and applesauce?
Apple sauce is a delectable spread that embodies the essence of autumn with its rich, comforting flavors. But this Homemade Apple Butter recipe will make you never look back haha
Here’s a table comparing the main differences between apple butter and applesauce:
In summary, while both applesauce and apple butter start with cooked apples, applesauce is smoother and thinner with a natural apple flavor, while apple butter has a thicker, spiced, and caramelized taste. The difference lies in the cooking time, added ingredients, and resulting texture and flavor profile.
How to make Apple Butter from Scratch
If you are cooking it in the stove, the process requires time and, especially, attention, as the mixture simmers slowly, gradually thickening and darkening in color.
If using the Slow Cooker, it is much more hands-off (my favorite 😉 ).
The end result is a velvety, caramel-hued spread that clings to your spoon and dances on your palate. With its irresistibly smooth texture and indulgent sweetness, apple butter is a versatile culinary delight.
Whether enjoyed on its own or incorporated into a variety of recipes, apple butter is a cherished homemade creation that brings warmth, nostalgia, and the vibrant flavors of fall to every bite.
- 2/4 cups of Sugar (or Brown sugar)
- Spices I use:
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves
How I Make My Apple Butter
Apple butter is a delicious spread made by slowly cooking apples with sugar and spices until it reaches a thick, smooth consistency.
Some people add other ongresients like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, even apple juice! I don’t. I keep it really simple and, trust me, it is delicious.
Sometimes I have added some vanilla extract at the end.
Step 1 – Prepare the Apples
Start by peeling, coring and slicing 5 1/2 pounds of apples. The best kind of apples for apple butter are Gala, Mcintosh, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Liberty, Sweet Sixteen, Fuji, Golden Russet, Orin, Arkansas Black, and Grimes Golden (according to the internet 😉
Step 2 – Start cooking
Place all the apples into a large crock pot along with the sugar and spices.
I am too lazy to dice my apples really small so I cook it on high until the apples are cooked down (about 5-6 hours).
Can you tell what decade I got married in by the style of my crock pot?
Step 3 – Blend
After my apples are soft and cooked down I take my immersion blender and blend the apples and spices together (after about 5 hours on high in the crock pot)
I periodically mix them up until it is all blended throughout the evening.
Note: If you would rather cook them down on the stovetop and then transfer them to your crock pot you can do that as well. It will save hours in the crock pot I have done it both ways.
Step 4 – Cook Further
Then I turn it down to low and cook them overnight. This takes a LONG TIME to cook down, but it is worth it. Plus you do not have to babysit them you just let them cook down all night.
Step 5 – Stir and thicken
In the morning it will have turned a beautiful brownish red color. I stir it again and then I take the top off the crock pot and let it simmer until it is my desired consistency (usually another 2-4 hours).
Step 6 – Prepare the Jars
Meanwhile, I wash 9 pint jars in my dishwasher. When they are still hot I take them out of the dishwasher. Then fill up the jar with the hot apple butter leaving about 1/4” of headspace.
Wipe the rim clean.
Step 7 – Seal
Put a new lid on it and then put the ring on it. If you are a true canner stop reading here….
**No, I don’t use water-bathed jars. Full story in this post How To Can Applesauce The Easiest Way In The World.**
Now flip the jars upside down. Let them cool.
When they are completely cool flip them right side up and they will have sealed.
It makes about 9 pint jars.
No special tools necessary. Just canning jars, apples, and spices. Easy peasy!
Apple Butter is great on toast, pancakes, waffles or pork chops and it is packed with fiber, nutrients like potassium, sodium, calcium and vitamin C.
Check out these cute jar toppers to make your apple butter look gift-worthy — although the taste is gift enough.
Recipes using your Apple Butter:
Tips and hints:
1. If you live near an apple orchard ask for “seconds” when buying the apples. They are usually half price. You may have to cut off some of the imperfections but they are just as tasty.
2. Before you go out and buy jars ask around. It seems like everyone has a jar or two laying around their house. Amazon, as usual, is a great place to get them also. And keep your eye out during yard sale season.
You can reuse the canning rings but you cannot reuse the lids. You will have to purchase those. Now is a great time to buy them because they are on clearance everywhere.
Why is my homemade apple butter not brown?
There could be a few reasons:
- Apple Variety: The color of apple butter can be influenced by the variety of apples used. Some apple varieties, like Granny Smith, tend to retain their greenish hue even after cooking.
- Cooking Time: The longer you cook the apple butter, the darker it will become. The cooking process caramelizes the sugars in the apples, leading to a deepening of color.
- Sugar Content: The sugar content in your apple butter can impact its color. Sugar helps with caramelization and browning during the cooking process. If you reduced the amount of sugar in your recipe or used a sugar substitute, it could have affected the browning of the apple butter.
- Spices: Certain spices, like cinnamon and cloves, can contribute to the brown color of apple butter. If you used less or different spices than what the recipe called for, it might have influenced the final color of your apple butter.
- Natural Variations: It’s important to note that there can be natural variations in the color of apple butter. Depending on the apples used, the ripeness, and the specific cooking conditions, the color can vary. Even if your apple butter is not brown, it can still be delicious and enjoyable.
If achieving a darker color is important to you, you can try adjusting the factors mentioned above. Use apples that are known to develop a deeper color when cooked, cook the mixture for a longer period of time, ensure you have an adequate amount of sugar, and follow the recipe’s spice recommendations.
Remember, taste and texture are equally important, so even if your apple butter is not as brown as expected, it can still be delightful in flavor.
How long will homemade apple butter last?
Properly stored, apple butter can last for several weeks to a few months, depending on the method of preservation you choose. Here are some general guidelines:
- Refrigeration: If you plan to consume the apple butter within a relatively short period, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Homemade apple butter can typically last for about 2 to 3 weeks when refrigerated. Make sure to check for any signs of spoilage before using it.
- Freezing: Freezing is an excellent option for extending the shelf life of homemade apple butter. Transfer the apple butter to freezer-safe containers or zip-top freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw the frozen apple butter in the refrigerator before using it.
- Canning: Canning apple butter allows for long-term storage at room temperature. Canned apple butter can last for up to a year or even longer if stored in a cool, dark place. Remember to check for any signs of spoilage, such as bulging lids or mold growth, before consuming.
It’s essential to note that these timeframes are general guidelines, and the actual shelf life can vary depending on factors such as the specific recipe used, the cleanliness of the preparation and storage processes, and the overall quality of the ingredients.
Always use your judgment and check for any signs of spoilage, such as off smells, mold, or unusual texture, before consuming homemade apple butter.
May Interest you: How To Make Pumpkin Butter.
Homemade Apple Butter
- 1 Slow Cooker
- 1 Blender
- 9 Jars Optional
- 5 1/2 pounds Apples
- 2/4 cups Sugar (or substitute)
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Tsp Cloves
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- Start by peeling, coring and slicing 5 1/2 pounds of apples.
- Place all the apples into a large crock pot along with 2-4 cups of sugar (depending on your sweet tooth), 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of cloves. I am too lazy to dice my apples really small so I cook it on high until the apples are cooked down (about 5-6 hours).
- After my apples are soft and cooked down I take my electric hand mixer and blend the apples and spices together (after about 5 hours on high in the crock pot) I periodically mix them up until it is all blended throughout the evening.
- Then I turn it down to low and cook them overnight. This takes a LONG TIME to cook down, but it is worth it. Plus you do not have to babysit them you just let them cook down all night.
- In the morning it will have turned a beautiful brownish red color. I mix it again and then I take the top off the crock pot and let it thicken until it is my desired consistency (usually another 2-4 hours).
- Meanwhile, I wash 9 pint jars in my dishwasher. When they are still hot I take them out of the dishwasher. Then fill up the jar with the hot apple butter leaving about 1/4” of headspace. Wipe the rim clean.
- Put a new lid on it and then put the ring on it.
- Now flip the jars upside down. Let them cool. When they are completely cool flip them right side up and they will have sealed.
- It makes about 9 pint jars. No special tools necessary. Just canning jars, apples, and spices. Easy peasy!