Nearly all week long, we’ve had a pot or two of apples simmering on the woodstove. I let the first pot cook so long before I got to canning it that I decided I might as well make it into apple butter. But pots two and three turned into two canner loads of apple sauce yesterday, making my preserving for the year nearly complete—I think.
I had to laugh as I struggled, yet again, to get the apple peeler to work. I finally gave up and told my husband it just must not be in my genes to use an apple peeler. My great grandpa spent hours in front of his kitchen sink, on a stool, cutting up apples by hand. The summer after Great Grandma went home to Heaven, he would pick up the Transparent apples that fell to the ground in his yard each day. He’d cut out the bad spots and take them to my grandma, his daughter—who dutifully canned dozens (perhaps hundreds—I’ll have to ask if she still remembers) of quarts of apple sauce that year.
Great Grandma always made apple butter—and so did my grandma. I can still remember the aromatic flavor combination of fresh made bread (Great Grandma used a bread machine in those later years, but it was still good!) and apple butter—it was heavenly.
I always wanted to try my had at apple butter—I even got the recipe from Aunt Margie after I got married. But it wasn’t until last fall that I finally found out how easy it was (though I was surprised to find out it didn’t actually have butter in it—not that you can’t butter your bread then put apple butter on it!). Of course, it still didn’t taste quite like Great Grandma’s apple butter—or at least, like my memory of it. But we enjoyed it anyway!
In case anyone else has an extra box of apples sitting around, and no desire to make any more apple sauce, I thought I’d share the recipe I’ve been using. I decided not to use vinegar or lemon juice like my grandma and great grandma did, and I cut back extensively on the sugar, as well as adding a few spices. But here’s what I made:
- 6 quarts apple sauce
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 2 T. cinnamon
- 1 T. canned minced ginger or 1 t. powdered ginger
- 1 t. allspice
- 1 t. cloves
- Combine and cook on low until it thickens to a spreadable butter—or until a spoonful of hot apple butter is poured onto a cold plate and no liquid forms around the edge. Can, freeze, or enjoy warm out of the pot on fresh-made bread!