Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homemade Applesauce & Apple Butter

Here it is - the much promised apple post. That's how I spent my Monday afternoon (well, it started on Sunday to tell the truth) - canning applesauce and apple butter.

Last year was my first year making applesauce. I laugh now thinking back at how intimated I was by the thought. Seriously, this has to be one of the easiest recipes out there. I like my applesauce plain - no sugar or spices - but if you want those, you can just add them to taste.

Basic Unsweetened Applesauce
(Makes 5-6 cups)

8-10 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
3/4 water

Place apples and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 1 hour until apples are mushy.
If you like chunky applesauce, you can stop here. Yeah - seriously. It's that easy!
If you like smooth applesauce, let it cool for a bit and then run it through the blender in batches.

(The instructions for canning your applesauce are below the apple butter recipe.)

Now apple butter is a little more time consuming. Not more complicated, that's for sure. (For those of you who have never had it, apple butter really isn't butter at all. It's just a very thick, creamy, smooth apple and spice mixture that you can serve on toast, muffins, popovers, etc.)
I started mine with fresh apples and used my slow cooker. Using this method, it took me about 16 hours to get the desired result (I did it over 2 days). That worked out for me because I didn't want to can until the second day anyway. But, if you start with applesauce, your cook time will probably be more like 8-10 hours.

Apple Butter
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

8 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Place chopped apples in the crock of your slow cooker. Pour water, sugar and spices over the top. Toss to mix. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
After about 4 hours, stir and break up the apples. Place top only part way on, to allow steam to escape. Continue cooking another 8 hours.
At this point, take the crock out of the slow cooker base and allow mixture to cool slightly. Run through a blender to smooth out the mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, place the mixture in the crock and slow cooker, turn heat to high and let cook partially covered for another 4 hours until mixture is dark brown and thick. (You can cook it longer to get it thicker. If it's too thick, add a bit of apple juice.)

To can both your apple butter and applesauce, start by sterilizing your jars. Add hot apple butter and hot applesauce to hot jars (or cold food to cold jars - just don't mix temperatures - or risk glass breakage). Leave about 1/4" of head space at the top of each jar. Place in stock pot with water covering jars by at least 1". Bring water to a boil and boil jars for 15 minutes.
(You can read more about safe canning and get instructions for various altitudes at the
National Center for Home Food Preservation

Then - ta da! You have canned apple butter and applesauce to enjoy all winter!


Kathryn said...

Oh, YAY! I've been waiting for this. I want to make the applesauce, but it'll need to be a little sweet and w/cinnamon for da boys.
question, tho....I broke my crockpot (4 moves'll do that to a person). Can I make it on LOW in a big pot? (Realize you need to explain this to me like I'm 12.) Would you mind terribly emailing me @ I'm printing out the recipe from your site, but just in case I get distracted....(me? distracted?)
Thanks for this!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This is totally awesome! I have never made applesauce...well there was that whole aversion to apples I had for many years. But I am over that now, and so methinks, I must make apple sauce!

Jenn said...

It's applesauce time!! Woohoo. I've got some apple I need to use up and I think applesauce is just a perfect fit.

Chef Shari said...

I love apple butter and would love to try this, but must admit, I am a little intimadated by the whole canning process. Maybe this will motivate me to give it a try

ValleyWriter said...

Chef Shari - if you don't want to can it, you can just store it in the fridge or even freeze it. It'll keep a long time!

lululu said...

i love apple butter, hv never tried to make it myself though!
cant believe how easy it is by looking at your recipe!pani

Cajun Chef Ryan said...

Oh applesauce from scratch...this looks wonderful. I have some canning jars waiting for a candidate vegetable or fruit! Hummm....

Miranda said...

I am going to make this. As you can tell from my site I LOVE TO CAN!!!

The Duo Dishes said...

The apple butter is so so nice. It's so delicious and easy to make in big batches. Best to do so because it doesn't last long!

Marillyn Beard said...

Both look delicious and I can totally imagine the sweet smells!! I miss making apple butter... sooo good! And don't get me started on applesauce... we LOVE that stuff, but we aren't exactly excited about buying apples from Chile... boo hoo :o)

Jessie said...

This is great! I have never made homemade apple sauce and this is a wonderful recipe. I cannot wait to try this one

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Yum! This sounds great. I have a bunch of pears. This would be a great way to use some.