Apple Butter is a very concentrated form of apple puree/sauce that is produced by long slow cooking, until the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apples to a deep brown. The concentration of sugar gives the apple butter a much longer shelf life as a preserve.
........... It's a bit of a convoluted procedure, but you may feel it's worth trying.
Ingredients: Makes 3.1/2 pints
approx. 3 litres of apple cider (sweet)
approx. 4lbs. (or little more) chopped cooking apples (dont peel or core)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups (US) of sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1. Heat the cider to boiling point and boil uncovered until the cider measures about 4 pints. (Use a stainless steel pan.)
2. Add the apples and heat to boiling point. Reduce the heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the apples are soft. - about an hour.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat. Simmer until no liquid separates from the pulp. - about 2 hrs. - heat to boiling.
4. Pour into hot sterilised jars, lid and process in a boiling water bath for 10 mins.
Ingredients: Makes about 3 pint jars.
4 lbs. of cooking apples
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of water
approx. 4 cups of sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1. Cut the apples into 1/4s - dont peel or core - (cutting out the damaged parts)
2. Put them into a large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer and cook until the apples are soft - about 20 mins. Stirring. Remove from the heat.
3. Sieve the puree, and add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stirring to dissolve the sugar.
4. Taste to adjust seasoning.
6. Cook uncovered - preferably in a preserving pan - on a medium heat, stirring to prevent burning and a crust forming on the bottom, and cook until a thick smooth puree - about 1-2 hours. A small amount on a cold plate to test, should be thick but not runny.
7. Having sterilised your jars by putting them in the oven at 200 deg.F for about 10 mins, pour the sauce into the hot sterilised jars. Before applying the lids, place the lids in a bowl and pour boiling water over them and wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying.
To by-pass all the fiddly bits and long cooking - make some apple puree (ingredients as above) - with peeled and cored apples - and pour into sterilised jars and lid them. These will keep pretty well in the fridge, but probably not as long as if they were properly 'canned'.
The Puree can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes: i.e. Apple Butter Cake, Spicey Chicken Thighs etc.
It's a very useful thing to keep handy, and is delicious served as a pud with ice cream, yogurt, cream, custard or just about anything! :)