By Melissa Wynn
Apple butter is one of those special memories that I cherish from my childhood. Every year in the fall we would pick green apples from the tree in my Auntie Lois’ front yard and she would make us all a jar of apple butter. This recipe is just basic guidelines, any kind of apple or a mix can be used. Some are sweeter and some are tart so taste your apple butter throughout the cooking process and add sugar or spice to suit your own taste. We like cinnamon and nutmeg as listed below but many people add cloves and allspice or use pumpkin pie spice. We like brown sugar but some use white. Have fun with it. This recipe yields about two cups, so apple butter is a great way to burn up those end of season apples that otherwise go to waste. This is a great recipe for a bad weather day, the house is warm from the oven and that baking apple pie smell fills the house all day long. It is great on biscuits.
4 to 5 lbs. apples peeled, cored and quartered
2 cups apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Combine the apples, apple cider, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in your turkey roaster or Dutch oven. Cook on stovetop over medium heat, simmer until the apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg (or your favorite spice blend). Puree the mixture in a blender in batches until smooth. Return the mixture to the roaster and bake uncovered, stirring every half hour or so until thickened with that signature rich amber, apple butter color. Apples vary but it will take several hours. Add more cider or a touch of water when stirring if your mixture is getting too thick but not brown enough.
Again there are no rules, you may prefer yours lighter and just spreadable. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. When making large batches for canning, boil jars and use the hot bath method for sealing the jars.