After apple picking I had a serious amount of apples on my hands, so I had to do something productive with them. I had intentions of making both applesauce and apple butter, but actually doing it was a different story. Much to my surprise, I managed to make both!
This was my first attempt at making applesauce or any kind of butter/jam, and did I mention that I have never canned anything before? I was a little intimidated, but I did my research and made sure I had all my facts straight before I started. A really great site that helped me with the basics was The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
I have to say, it came out great and I didn’t run across any issues. I don’t have a food mill or any fancy peelers so I sat down and actually peeled about 12 pounds of apples. Everything I read online said to use a food mill, a food processor or a potato masher. My food processor isn’t nearly big enough and I wasn’t too excited about mashing the apples by hand, so I threw them into my kitchen aid stand mixer (which I regularly use to make mashed potatoes). It worked perfectly! The applesauce came out to just the right texture.
I wanted to make a basic unsweetened applesauce, but this recipe can easily be changed to suit your tastes. I would add sugar one tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness. Apples are naturally sweet, so it will taste great without. Its best to use a variety of apples when making applesauce, I used a combination of Rome Beauty, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious. Also I think it would be easy to reduce this recipe to adjust to how much applesauce you want and/or how many apple you have.
About 12 lbs of apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used one of these)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 -2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
Fill a large stock pot with 1 inch of water and add prepared apples. Place the lit on the pot and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30-40 min, stirring occasionally. Transfer cooked apples to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment* Mix on medium low for 2-3 minutes or until apples have reached your desired applesauce consistency. Transfer mashed apples to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice. Add cinnamon to taste.
Applesauce can be kept about a week in an airtight container. If canning applesauce, re-warm before scooping into jars.
Makes about 4 quarts of applesauce
I decided to make my apple butter from the applesauce and do it the easiest way possible, in my crock pot :) I looked through lots of recipes and I had a hard time finding one that I liked. Some had too much sugar, too much spices, or not enough – so I follow my gut and wing it. I think it came out perfect! I started it about 2 hours before I went to bed, and then turned it to low to let it cook overnight. It was a really convenient way to cook it and the house smelled amazing when I woke up!
Easy Crock Pot Apple Butter
2 Quarts of applesauce (unsweetened)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ to 1/3 cup apple cider (if desired)
Pour applesauce into a large crock pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn the crock pot to medium heat and cover, leaving a gap to let steam escape (I laid 2 skewers across the top of the crock pot and rested the lid on top of them). Cook at medium heat for about 2 hours, then reduce heat to low and cook for 14 to 16 more hours, stirring occasionally if desired.
When apple butter has finished cooking, add cider, if needed, to get the butter to a thinner consistency. If butter is too thin, let it cook longer to desired consistency. Working in batches, put apple butter into food processor and pulse until smooth. If canning, re-warm butter until hot before scooping into jars. Apple butter can also be frozen as an alternative to canning.
Makes about 5 half pints