For the last three years, we have gone apple picking at least once every fall. We never get it together in time to pick peaches, raspberries, or strawberries, so by the time apple season rolls around we apply ourselves with a vengeance. That vengeance, in turn, leads us to this – I have twelve pounds of apples in my kitchen right now. Through a series of scheduling mishaps (which might be interpreted as my inability to read a calendar), we went apple picking last Saturday, and again on Monday. Trying to explain to Scooter and Skeeter that we didn’t really need any more apples and we were just going for the experience was an awful lot like talking to a wall.
So here I am with a dozen pounds of apples, and I already have a solid gallon of applesauce in the freezer, and I don’t have the energy or available Weight Watchers Points to bake a pie (see, everyone in my house says they want pie, but they eat one slice, and then they leave the rest on the counter, where it taunts me late at night, until I eat it, and then I get mad, and then I say, “WHY do I even make pies, when they make me sad?” So… no pie. …anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, I remember!)
Apple butter seemed like a good solution, but I could only find recipes for huge batches (and packed with sugar!), and all of the people I would give it away to were on the same apple-picking trip with me. So I read about a dozen recipes and decided to give it a try in my teeny 6-cup slow cooker. Here’s what I came up with:
- 2-3 pounds of tart apples, peeled, cored, and cubed (I made 1-inch cubes)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (is what I would have used, if I had it. Instead I used 2 tbsp white wine vinegar and 1 tbsp apple juice)
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 to 1 cup dark brown sugar
Pile the apple pieces into your slow cooker – fill it to the top, as they will cook down considerably. Pour the vinegar on top, set the slow cooker to low, and ignore it for eight hours. (I set mine before I went to bed.) After eight hours, the apple pieces still looked whole, but disintegrated when I stirred it.
Add the spices and sugar, stir well, and set the slow cooker to ‘warm’. Leave it alone for another 3-4 hours.You could probably leave it for longer, but I’m impatient and Scooter needed to get to preschool.
When the apples have completely broken down and the mixture is slightly thicker than applesauce, take the lid off and turn the cooker back up to ‘low’. Let it thicken another hour or two, and if desired, whip it for a few seconds with an immersion blender or in a food processor.
This recipe yields about two cups. Here’s the finished product:
And here’s the finished product over ice cream.