I ran into the trifecta of goodness this weekend at Farmer's Market. Three forces combined and I was powerless in their presence. I found organic apples, offered in bulk, at an amazing discount (about $.50/pound, to be exact). Naturally I came home with 15 pounds of apples. I mean, when can you get ANYTHING organic for that kind of money??
Pretty much never. So I had to do it.
(Click here for further detail about my inability to resist bulk temptation at Farmers Market.)
Full disclosure, these apples were "seconds" so they had a bit of character, a few bruises, and maybe a resident worm or two. But I had my eye on a big batch of Apple Butter, so a few blemishes didn't scare me.
I have loved Apple Butter for years, and my affection only grew when I realized how easy it is to make. I am now going to share with you my super-secret family recipe. Are you ready? Here it is:
3. Ground Cloves
Ta Da!! Seriously. That's it.
Why have you never made your own Apple Butter??
You can find lots of recipes with added sugar, sweeteners or other unnecessary garbage. All you really need are some good apples and a little bit of spice. (If you're a stickler for details, this translates to about 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves for 10-ish pounds of apples.)
I've always made my Apple Butter in the crock pot. Just peel/slice the apples, fill your crock pot to the brim and heat on high for two hours. Stir in the spices and simmer down on low for an additional 4-6 hours. End of story. Really! I'm not lying. It's that simple.
I also made a batch on the stove this time, which was even quicker. I had Red Delicious apples, which are pretty soft to begin with. They cooked down on the stove in about an hour. I used my hand blender to mix in the spices and break up the chunks, simmered down for about 30 more minutes and called it good.
I almost hate to share this trivia with you because some of you just may receive homemade Apple Butter as your Christmas gift. So for you, let me say...I did have to go through the canning process too. It added at least another 30 minutes to my labor of love project. Woe is me. I worked myself to the bone on this....
So I supported my local farmer, bought organic, got a bargain, made it myself and stocked my pantry.
That's joy in a jar right there.