Thursday, September 15, 2011

Maple-ish apple butter


6 1/2-7 lbs apples, cored and quartered
4 cups apple cider or apple juice (try to use the cloudy, not from concentrate juice)**
2-3 cinnamon sticks and or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup white sugar
1 cup real maple syrup

Place apples and juice in a very large pot. Add cinnamon sticks. Place on stove and bring to a boil.  Decrease heat and simmer, covered for 1/2 hour, until apples are tender. Remove cinnamon sticks.  Run apple mixture through a food mill or strainer to remove peels. Return mixture to pot (you should have around 12-14 cups of applesauce)   Add sugar, maple syrup, allspice, and ground cinnamon if you didn't use cinnamon sticks.  Return sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered for 2-3 hours, until mixture is very thick and mounds on a spoon.  Stir frequently. (alternatively, you can put the apple sauce mixture in your crock pot, set to LOW and let it simmer overnight.)
This is my food mill set up.  One of the best wedding gifts I received!

Ladle into sterile jars, add lids and rings, and process in boiling water for five minutes.

I filled 6-250 ml* jars  and one 500 ml jar around 2/3 full.  (that one was not put in the canner, and was set on the counter to cool for immediate consumption.)

*Yes, my recipe uses imperial mesurements to fill metric jars.  That's what happens when you live in Canada sometimes.

**The next time I make this I will probably reduce the apple juice by half as I had very watery sauce that took until suppertime to cook down.

***If you are new to canning, you can freeze this apple butter in containers for future use, or check out this website to get more information.  I used a combination of my grandmother and a  book they published to teach myself how to preserve food 9 years ago and haven't looked back.  (I also really love their slogan:  "Because you can!")

***In case you don't read the comments, my friend  Carolyn (and giver of the apples I used in this recipe) offered these helpful tips:  When using the crockpot, you should prop the lid open using a wooden spoon or something. It takes about 12-14 hours that way.   A 500 ml jar is about a pint (2 cups).

I swirled a spoonful of this butter into my oatmeal this morning with a dollop of vanilla-flavoured greek yogurt and had one of the best breakfasts I have had in a very long time.