We spent more than 5 years living in North Carolina. One of the highlights of the year was the Apple Festival the first weekend in October. We would bring home several boxes of apples. There would be several different types. Of course, there were some for eating, some for pie and a whole bushel that was destined to be for apple butter and apple sauce!
The applesauce and apple butter was always good right out of the pot, nice and warm. The majority of the batch was canned for use during the rest of the year. There is nothing like apple butter on a hot roll out of the oven!
Both applesauce and apple butter are easy to make and easy to can. Canning allows you to store them for up to 1 year and the jars won’t take up precious space in your fridge or freezer. As an added bonus, your homemade versions will be healthier and tastier than what you can find at the grocery store. You get to customize your apple preserves to your family’s taste and you know exactly what goes into each jar. Ready to give it a try? Here are my favorite recipes for each.
Homemade Apple Sauce
8 medium apples
1.5 cups of water
½ cup of sugar (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
Start by washing, peeling and coring your apples. Chop them into bite-sized chunks and add them to a large saucepan. Add the water.
The sugar is variable. Most of the time I don’t even add it at all. It really depends on how you like your applesauce and the apples you are using. Taste your apple sauce and add to taste the end. The cinnamon is optional. If you like cinnamon in your applesauce, add it, if not, feel free to leave it out. Of course you can also use more or less according to taste.
Bring the apple mixture to a simmer and cook covered on medium heat until the apples are soft. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks and the apple variety.
Mash it into apple sauce with a potato masher, a fork, or an immersion blender.
This is an easy recipe, but being me I always have to tweak things. I hate peeling apples so the only thing I do is cut the core out and rough chunk the apples. When they are washable I put them through my food mill. If you don’t have one of these you NEED one! You can find one at a specialty kitchen store or Amazon has them as well. I use mine all fall and winter long! For apple sauce the apple goes through and the skins stay in the food mill.
I then put it back in the pot to cook the rest of the time. I do not add sugar, but if you do, you would add it after you put the apples through the food mill.
Homemade Apple Butter
Apple butter cooks slow and low. The easiest way to prepare it is in the slow cooker. Here’s what you need:
4 pounds of apples
3 cups of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
First core and chunk your apples. If you do not have a food mill peel the apples as well. I cook the apples on the stove top until the apples are mashable. Put the apples through the food mill or use a potato masher if they are already peeled.
Place the apples in the slow cooker. Mix the sugar, salt and spices and pour them over the apples. Mix in. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook it 10 hours. Stir it occasionally. Your apple butter is ready when it is brown and starts to thicken.
This is a food mill. Not just for apples, but I use it for cranberries, pumpkin and a great deal of food processing! Well worth the investment. I would recommend a stainless steel one, not a plastic, but they are all good!