Out of the seven pounds of apple puree, this batch only yielded seven half-pints and seven quarter-pints. I made this the same way in a crock-pot that I made the last batch a few years ago, but this time it was all apples and no pears.
I doled what I had out to relatives and friends and Patti had asked me for a recipe. So, here it is. It's more of a method than a recipe but I hope she can get the same great results as I did! I didn't take any pictures this time, but I'll try to explain the method in as much detail as I can. So, Patti, if there's anything you don't understand, just ask. You know where I live!
One could probably half this recipe, but it takes so much time and effort that it's better to make as much as you can!
Awesome Apple Butter(a little over two and a half quarts finished)
7 lbs. fresh apple puree; I used nice tart apples and I'm not sure what they were but they were not Granny Smith (I'm not sure how many apples this really was, but I peeled, cored, cut, and put them through my trusty food processor and weighed the end results; the plastic grocery bag was really full plus the smaller bag of the other apples)
2 cups brown sugar, tightly packed (I had some dark and some light brown sugar and you can adjust with more or less sugar depending on how tart you like your apple butter; give it a taste, it's good!)
1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbl. pure vanilla extract (add this towards the end of cooking)
Mix apples and all spices in a large crock-pot (I estimated that I had about a gallon of apple puree) and cook all day (or night) over low heat for at least 10 hours. Stir on occasion if you aren't sleeping. Your house will smell divine! The mix will be very dark and smooth and you can add more brown sugar during this cooking time if you find your mixture is too tart. After the initial 10 hours is finished, uncover and add the vanilla and let cook for two more hours in the crock-pot uncovered. Use an immersion blender or put it back through your food processor once the cooking is done. Be careful because it's hot. Your butter should be hot if not very warm when you can it in the jars.
Your apple butter should be very thick but here is an added step that I do because I like my apple butter to have a paste-like consistency. I reduce the apple butter in small batches in a non-stick pan until it's very thick and you can run a spatula through it and it holds it's shape or you can dollop some on a plate and it holds it's shape. I know that this is extra time added on, but it's well worth it because it seems to concentrate the flavor more that you just can't seem to get without cooking it in your crock-pot for another several hours.
Towards the end of the cooking, I prepared all of my canning jars and then jarred all of the apple butter and processed them for about 10 minutes. Here in Washington the elevation is very low so it didn't take long to get my jars to seal. There was a small amount left that I just put in a container and put in the fridge for us. I think the acid in the apples keeps it well since it's been in our fridge for nearly a month now. You could freeze your apple butter in small containers if you didn't want to jar it.
Well, that's it. I'd like to say it's quick and easy, but apple butter is easy but never quick. Oh, but when we had some on our bagels this morning my taste buds reminded me that it was all worth it. Now I just have to remember not to give it all away!