By Jordan Champagne, Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
Many people back East have fond memories of tasting apple butter in Amish Country. Pennsylvania is one of the few places where apple butter is still being served alongside homemade bread. Apple butter is definitely an Old-World method of preserving apples that has nearly been lost—we love bringing recipes like this one back! I add apple cider vinegar to my recipe to add tartness. Some recipes call for adding sugar and water but I like to use apple cider instead.
A wonderful treat is using apple butter with good Gruyere cheese on freshly baked bread. (Beaufort cheese is my favorite.) Ah, the good life!
8 pounds apples (I like to use a mixture of sweet and tart varieties for a well-rounded, full-bodied flavor)
1 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
3 cups apple cider
1 and 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger (optional)
- If you are using a food mill or a colander, chop up the apples including the peels and cores for additional flavor.
- If you are using a hand-held immersion blender, peel and core apples. Then chop apples.
- Cook apples in cider for 50 minutes until they soften and begin to break apart.
- Using the food grinder/colander or immersion blender, mash the apples into a smooth applesauce.
- Add spices and ACV. Cook on a low temperature until desired thickness is achieved, about 3 to 4 hours. The trick is to avoid burning it by constantly stirring and keeping your patience, which is why it can take a whole community to make a good pot of apple butter.
- I have recently tried the fabulous idea of cooking the apple butter in a Crock-Pot for the final thickening. The goal is to cook it down long enough so that the sugars begin to caramelize and it turns a deep, dark brown.
- Once desired thickness is achieved, ladle into clean jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes at 210° F.
Yields about 16 1/2 pints.