I love fruit butters. They are naturally sweet and are the perfect topping to smear onto toast, muffins or even sandwiches. They are also an ideal way to use up less than perfect fruit. You can make large batches and can them or you can make them in smaller quantities and use or gift them right away. (This is ideal for me since with frequent moves I am hesitant to can large quantities of anything lest I have to move them or even worse, leave them behind).
Last winter I was gifted with two cookbooks, Put ’em Up and the companion Put ’em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Skimming through the pages I dreamed of making the variety of preserved vegetables and fruits that filled the pages. But alas, with yet another move on the horizon I didn’t want to start canning. Fast forward several months with the move completed, being settled into our new house and with seasonal fruits ripe for the picking (and canning), and I was ready to dig back into the books and actually make them. And my first recipe? Apple butter of course.
Sherri’s recipe called for using a combination of apples and pears but having just returned from apple picking I used only apples. For interest I did use a combination of both sweeter and more tart varieties and added additional cinnamon for flavor. The apple butter cooked up sweet and rich and I find myself slathering it on everything from the banana muffins pictured above to fresh baguettes covered in tangy goat cheese. And there wasn’t any need to worry about having to preserve any; it has already disappeared so it is time to make some more. (Or try one of the other fabulous recipe ideas in the book).
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 pounds apples (use a single kind or a variety)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pour the water and the lemon juice in a large nonreactive stockpot.
- Peel, core and chop the apples and drop them into the water to prevent browning.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the fruit is tender, approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and pass the entire mixture through a food mill.
- Return the apples to the pot, add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves and stir well.
- Continue to simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until has cooked down and is thick and rich, approximately 40-50 minutes. Take care that the mixture does not burn and reduce the heat if necessary.
- Transfer the apple butter to glass jar, cool and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Yields 4 cups