Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Butter

It is that time of the season where the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg come to play in Autumn and Winter cuisine.  It is my favorite time of the year! 

Making Apple Butter in the slow cooker brings a delightful aroma to your kitchen and it is such a great way to accompany some of your desserts and entrees.  I use it in my special "Bran Muffin Top" recipe, cookies, cakes, fish (especially on cedar planked salmon), chicken and even on pork chops. I make plenty of it to keep on hand through the winter (if it lasts that long).  You can freeze the apple butter (I usually portion out 1 cup at a time and freeze in individual bags) or if you know how to preserve your food by "Canning", it is best to preserve in this method.  Here is a link to the "Ball Company" on how to preserve foods and they also give you "step by step" for freezing and preserving. 

This recipe can be adjusted to your liking; I have found that using less sugar is best, depending on the apples that you use.  I prefer sweeter crisp apples such as Honeycrisp, Gala and Jonagold apples that are available in Washington during September and October season.  I do add a Granny or two to this recipe, for the tart flavor, but you can use any apple of your choice.  Also, just remember that the sweeter apples that you may choose for this recipe, do not need as much sugar.

Happy Autumn Season! This photo is from our yard and our neighbors tree; what a lovely site to see nature in the works, during Autumn.

in a Slow Cooker

6 pounds of apples -approximately 20- 25 apples (choose different apples such as Honeycrisp and Gala)
2 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup apple juice (use organic) - I use Washington's Gala Apple Juice
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (I add 2 tablespoons as I love the cinnamon taste)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

1.  Peel, core and slice apples. 
2.  Place apples in slow cooker with apple juice (I own a 7 Quart slow cooker and it is a little large, but it works well). 
3.  Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt  
4.  Add dry mixture to apples and juice and mix well.
5.  Cover slow cooker and cook for 10-12 hours on low setting.
6.  Stir occasionally (I never have to until the end)
7. Taste for sweetness.  If you need more sweetness (to your taste) you can add more brown sugar 1/4 cup at a time during cook time.  Again, depending on the sweetness of your apples, you may not need to add more sugar.
8.  Cool and place in sterile containers to preserve (if there are a lot of juices in your slow cooker, place in a colander until most of the juices drain and then add to containers. You can use the juice for other recipes).

Apple Butter on Fruit and Nut Crostini

Note: Anjou Bakery in Cashmere, WA makes the most delicious Fruit and Nut Crostini.  Sold in many local grocery stores and at Whole Foods.

CHEF NOTE: You can use this same recipe to make Pear Butter. Yes, it is absolutely delicious and again, it can be used in many of your recipes as well.  If you decide to make Pear Butter, omit the juice in the recipe; all else is the same.  Pear Butter tastes great on Swordfish, Halibut and Chicken.

                                              Buon Appetito