Step 1: Make Applesauce
~ Wash and quarter the apples. Remove any rotten or bad spot. Also remove the cores if they look bad or have worms.
~ Place apples in a large, heavy bottom stock pot. Add a quart of so of water, apple cider or apple juice. Cover and simmer until the apples are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent the apples from burning to the bottom.
~ Run through a food strainer/sauce maker. Kitchenaid has an attachment that does an excellent job, or you may use a manual one (Victorio and Weston are two examples, however there are many different styles and models available). The manual options work well too but take more effort (which is ok if you are healthy and strong) and cause a bit more of a mess.
~ You may stop here and can as applesauce (waterbath 15 minutes per pint and 20 minutes per quart 0-1,000ft altitude; add 5 minutes per each additional 2,000ft of altitude) OR you may continue on with the apple butter.
Step 2: Make Apple Butter
~ Return applesauce to the heavy bottom stock pot. Add the following ingredients:
1/2T allspice~ Stir until mixed thoroughly. Cover, bring to a good simmer, uncover, continue to simmer and BE SURE TO STIR OFTEN! You do not want it burning to the bottom. An alternate way would be to use a large electric roaster on a low setting, or a roaster in the oven on a low setting.
~ Occasionally taste the apple butter: is it how you want it? Maybe you desire more cinnamon? More honey? Adjust the seasonings to suit your likes, but remember it will get sweeter as it cooks down, so be careful not to add more sweetener in haste.
~ Continue simmering and stirring until the sauce has cooked down considerably and has changed texture; this can take SEVERAL hours, so be prepared. You might have to turn it off over night and continue in the morning; it will be fine sitting out over night. The general guideline to knowing when it's done is to drop a spoonful onto a plate - if no rim of liquid forms around the mound of apple butter it is done.
|not quite done but getting close|
Step 3: Canning
~ The first step can be done towards the end of the apple butter cooking time. Be sure to have all canning supplies on hand, including about 30 pint jars, lids and rings. Wash the jars and keep them hot in the oven (I turn mine on to 250*f). Bring the lids and rings to a boil and then cover and keep warm till ready to use.
~ Have your canning pot ready too! Be sure the water is at a full, rolling boil before adding the HOT, filled jars.
~ Fill each HOT jar with the HOT apple butter, leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove air-bubbles, wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth or paper towel, add lids and rings.
~ Gently lower the HOT, filled jars into the boiling water (be sure there's a rack! If you do not have a rack simply place a towel at the bottom of the pot). Be sure there is plenty of water to completely cover the jars. It's good to have more boiling water on hand if you need to add any more to the pot while the jars are in there.
~ Boil half-pints or pints for 5 minutes, quarts for 10 minutes (0-1,000ft altitude). 1,001-6,000ft = add 5 minutes. 6,001 and above, add 10 minutes.
~ Carefully remove jars and allow to cool on a wire rack or a towel. Do not disturb for about 12-24 hours.
|I got more than this but this is all that I photographed|
Step 4: Clean Up and Storage
~ Remove rings and check seals. This can be done in a variety of ways, including,
1. Press the middle of the lid with your finger or thumb. If it springs up or down it is not sealed.
2. Tap the top of the lids, one after the other, with your finger. They should all sound the same, a higher-pitched, ringing sound. If the sound is a dull 'thump', it is not sealed.
3. Lift the jar up by the lid. This is not always fool-proof, so I do all three methods in the order listed here.
~ Re-process unsealed jars again (place in cold water, bring to a boil and process as above) or simply store in the refrigerator.
~ Wipe sealed jars clean with a damp cloth and store in a cool, dark room.