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Crock Pot Apple Butter

Yield varies, depending on the size of slow cooker I included lots of tips in the video!

My dear friend, Marian Traina, taught me to make fruit butters in a slow cooker and now I rarely do it any other way. It’s just so easy to let the appliance mind the pot overnight as you sleep! You can use this method for other fruit: pears, peaches, plums.

Ingredients

Scale
  • Apples, about l pound (.5 kg) per quart (liter) capacity
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Water
  • 13 cups (200600 g) sugar

Instructions

  1. Wash apples under cool running water. Core and roughly chop the apples, cutting away any bruises and insect damage. It is not necessary to peel the fruit. Reserve the non-buggy scraps for apple scrap vinegar, if desired.
  2. Drop the apple pieces into a slow cooker, filling it to the top. Add a cup of water, cover and cook on high 2-4 hours, until apples are completely soft and mushy.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree the fruit right in the crock. Move the tool up and down in the crock, taking care to release the power button so that it turns off before you lift it from the pot to avoid splattering yourself with hot applesauce. Puree until the skins will melt into the puree; it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.
  4. Scoop up a spoonful of apple puree and evaluate how thick it is. It should resemble commercial applesauce; thin and juicy. If necessary, add water to thin it. 
  5. Now taste it and use your good judgment to decide how much sugar to add. (Remember, the sugars will concentrate as it cooks down overnight.) Stir in apple cider vinegar, spices, and salt. Amounts listed are for a 6-quart (6 liter) slow cooker, adjust up or down depending on the size of your slow cooker.
  6. Place the lid on the slow cooker sideways. The sides of the slow cooker should be open so that steam can escape. Set the heat on LOW and let simmer overnight, or 6-8 hours. Your house will fill with the aroma of apple butter! If you wake up, give it a stir and go back to bed. In the morning it will be ready.
  7. By morning the fruit will have caramelized and turned a rich mahogany brown. Do the Spoon Test: stick a wooden spoon upright in the center of the crock. If the spoon remains upright, your apple butter is done. Taste with a clean spoon and evaluate flavor. Too flat or dull tasting? Add another tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a pinch more cloves. Too tart? Add more sugar.
  8. Refrigerate and use apple butter within about a week or freeze up to 6 months. Enjoy apple butter on toast, pancakes, French toast, waffles, or over ice cream. Add 2-4 tablespoons of apple butter to chicken or pork cooked in a slow cooker for added flavor. 

Notes

To can apple butter:

Ladle hot apple butter into clean, hot pint or half-pint jars leaving a ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jars in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

Bring canner to a boil. Process jars 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand in the canner 5 minutes. Lift jars from canner to a towel-covered surface and cool 12-24 hours. Once cool, check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed. Label and store jars on a cool, dark pantry shelf up to 2 years for best quality.

Keywords: apple butter, apples, crock pot, slow cooker, preserving, pantry

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