So I'm very excited because it's that time of year again, apple season!! Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year, from the start of September to the beginning of November, I fill my calender with fall festivities and begin picking apples, roasting (and carving) pumpkins and doing jigs in piles of leaves. Now is the time of year when I start drinking hot spiced tea in the morning and hot cocoa in the evening, and around lunch time a nice glass of apple cider.
But for the last few years, one of my go to fall foods has been apple butter. Smooth, thick, appley and delicious. We can buy lots of it locally, but I wanted to try my hand at making it at home. After 14 hours of being in the slow cooker and then another few hours for it to cool and set we were able to eat spoonfuls of it! After all that I work, I have to be honest, I think I will be buying it from our local apple farmers. Unfortunately, not everyone has the access to locally made apple butter, so this recipe is for you. Because who doesn't love apple butter?
Apple Butter - No Sugar Added
3 litres / 3 quarts of apples (about 10-12 medium sized apple)
6 cups of apple cider or unsweetened apple juice (reduced to about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or sodium bicarbonate)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cardamom
fresh ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
Before chopping apples, pour apple cider/juice in a large saucepan with arrowroot powder, whisk to combine. Put on medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the apple cider has reduced to half. The reduction of the apple cider adds an extra sweetness to the apple butter. I received this tip after contacting a local apple seller for advice on making apple butter. They told me that the reduction of the cider or juice adds enough sweetness to the apple butter and they use a variety of apples depending on what they have lying around. Advice from the experts!
While the cider/juice is boiling, chop the apples and core them. Leaving the skins on.
Toss the chopped apples into your slow cooker and sprinkle with spices.
Pour in apple cider or apple juice. Cover, put on low heat in slow cooker for 12ish hours or overnight.
Puree the apple butter. If it is still a bit runny, keep it at a low temperature and cover again, leaving the lid slightly ajar. You could also reduce the liquid by bringing the apple butter to a slight boil in a pot. Using a sweeter variety of apples will yield a sweeter result. Maple syrup or honey can be added to taste if you like super sweet, but honestly, I think the apple butter is great without the added sugars. Especially if you are going to be using it in recipes or eating on toast.
When the process is all done you will have a beautiful coloured, scrumptious tasting apple butter!
Applesauce can also be used to make apple butter. What I think I will do next time is make a large batch of apple sauce, set some aside after about 6 hours in the slow cooker for the apple sauce portion then add the apple juice reduction to the remaining apple sauce to make apple butter.
Some of my favourite recipes to use apple butter in are: