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YUM! Warm apple butter

What a fantastically fruitful fall we have been having! This time of year, I tend to have access to just about all of the apples I can handle, a truly fantastic problem but one can only eat so many apples and apple pies. I get all of my apples from Ela Orchard in Rochester, WI and recommend this orchard to those in the area. Some years we have canned lots of homemade apple sauce, this year I have my eye on apple butter and I have been lucky enough to be introduced to a lovely slow cooker apple butter recipe. Apple butter is enjoyable on toast, with crackers and cheese (I like brie) and served with pork chops.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter

5.5 lbs. of cored and sliced apples depending on the size of your slow cooker (I prefer to use as many different varieties as possible as it adds depth to the flavor. Currently I have Macoun and Macintosh varieties. I also prefer to keep the apple peels on, but if you prefer to peel them go for it!)
2 cups fresh apple cider (you can also use some apple cider vinegar for part of the liquid)
2 cups brown sugar (you can also use half white sugar and half brown sugar)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 squirts of fresh lemon juice

Makes approximately: 12 half-pints
Using your favorite method, wash & slice apples, remove the cores and add your sliced apples & peels (if desired) to the slow cooker to the top of the lid. (Peels aren’t necessary but I prefer to add mine.)

Add all ingredients (or if you are like me and want to really taste just the apples, I omit cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger sometimes) and cook on high for 2 hours. Reduce the heat on the slow cooker to low and cook for another 10 – 12 hours. You can leave the lid ajar for the last 2 hours to let some moisture escape. After 10-12 hours, use and immersion blender to puree the apples until smooth.

Enjoy some warm apple butter! And now it’s time to can using a water bath method.

To fill the sterilized jars: Using your canning funnel fill the jars using your ladle. Fill the jars to 1/4″ head space. Using a wet paper towel wipe clean the rims of the jars. Add hot lids/rings and process in the water bath for 10 minutes. Adjust per altitude.
Turn off heat and using tongs, remove jars from the water bath and let cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Once the jars are completely cooled, check to make sure they are sealed by pressing down in the middle of the lid, if the lid bounces back, makes a popping noise, or springs back it is not sealed and should be refrigerated; use within several days. Properly sealed jars can be stored without refrigeration in the pantry and make lovely holiday gifts.

warm apple butter

If you don’t have brown sugar you can add 4 cups of white sugar and 5 T. of unsulfured molasses. *Use Jonathan, Winesap, Stayman, Golden Delicious, Maclntosh, or other tasty apple varieties for good results.

Here is another variation using apple cider and vinegar from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The processing times are the same:

8 lbs apples
2 cups apple cider
2 cups vinegar
2¼ cups white sugar
2¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cloves