For this I use the water bath canning method. One can also use a pressure cooker canner, but water is easier.
Apple butter adds elegance to bread and is delicious as a baste to chicken and pork. It can be a sauce for ice cream, oatmeal, baked apples, and – well, your imagination is the limit!
This is the easiest recipe I have, and I like easy! Please read the whole process before starting so you know all the steps and have everything you need.
To make 20 pint jars of apple butter you will need the following:
16 lbs apples, cut`
8 cups apple cider
8 cups brown sugar
8 cups granulated sugar
1 cup lemon juice
8 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground gloves
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground ginger (dry)
Kitchen items needed:
2 large stock pot/lobster pots
food mill or sieve
20 Ball Jars-PINT sizes
tongs, wooden spoons
kettle to boil extra water
This can be done in steps that allow you to do as you have time. I usually break it down into these steps, but, you can do all in one day if you prefer.
1. Get all ingredients together first if you wish to complete the process in one day.
2. Wash apples well with scrubber and take stem and any leaves off. Cut them into pieces. Do not peel or core. We are using the whole apple, including the seeds and skin, as they have pectin. Place the cut apples in a large stockpot. I usually use a small lobster pot that fits into my fridge.
3. Cover apples with cider in pot, and place on low heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cook until apples are soft and mushy enough to push through a sieve or food mill.
The pot can be placed in fridge as is to be finished the following day. Alternatively, you can go on.
4. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Add dry ingredients and lemon juice to apple mush and cook on low to thicken. This can be done faster on higher heat if you wish to stay and stir the pot to make sure the apple butter does not stick. I use a flat-bottomed wooden spatula to stir the pot, continually scraping the bottom.
Bring to desired thickness – leave enough moisture to be able to pour or ladle.
6. Fill the other large processing pot with water and bring to boil. (You will sterilize the jars in this before canning.)
7. Prepare jars to can. This is best done the day you fill them and process the cans. Wash jars, lids and screw tops with soap and water, then place in pot.
8. Ladle or pour apple butter into sterilized jars.
a. Don not fill the jars to the brim; leave some space at the top. ¼
b. Wipe rims of jars with damp cloth, making sure they are clear of food so that they seal properly.
c. Place the seal cap on the jars and screw tops on top of that. Do not over-tighten.
d. Place jars in the hot water-bath, careful not to put them close together. They should not touch. Fill the pot with more hot water, 1-2’ above the jars.
e. Bring water-bath to boil and time for 10 minutes at a rapid boil.
f. Remove from water and place on dry towel. You can wear rubber hot mitts also and remove that way, or use tongs. I find my hands are the best tools, as long as they are protected from the heat.
g. Again, the jars should not touch. Leave the jars for 24 hours undisturbed. They will “POP” as they seal. So do not be alarmed, this is what is supposed to happen!
9. Repeat if you have more to process.
You can pick apples one day, wash and cut them the next, and cook another day if you like. The part you want to do all together is prepping the canning jars and the water-bath treatment. It is always best to add warm or hot items to hot jars. This prevents cracking and allows the bath and contents to come to a boil fast for processing.
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About the author: Loretta White is a highly respected member of the global manufacturing industry and brings over 20 years experience in consulting. Loretta lectures on: Sales, Business Development and Green Business practices and is a published author on sustainability techniques.