Thursday, September 5, 2013

Recipe: Simple Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Last weekend we went apple picking as a family. We go to the same orchard every year, Pine Farms Orchard, because they have over 5000 dwarf trees, meaning that this kids can reach the apples all on their own, without the use of a ladder.

We always end up picking more apples than we need, but I don't mind. There are so many recipes to make with apples, and they keep well, so I don't feel the need to cook them all at once.

I make some homemade apple sauce every year, click HERE for the recipe. This year I wanted to make some apple butter too. If you're not familiar with apple butter, it's a thicker version of apple sauce, used as a spread or a fruit dip.

It takes a long time to make on the stove, involving a lot of stirring. Since it takes so long, I don't make it every year.

Then I thought about the slow cooker, and wondered if I could just make some apple butter in there.
Turns out the answer is yes. I will never make it on the stove again. I will probably make my apple sauce this way too.


Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Ingredients

20 apples (any apples will work, depending on whether you want the butter sweet, or tart, etc.)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup water (optional, but I find it helps get the cooking started)
1/2 cup agave nectar (maple syrup, sugar, honey all work well. Optional)
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Directions

1. Wash, core, and cut apples into slices or chunks. I didn't peel mine. Instead, I blended the apple butter later with a stick blender.

2. Place apples, lemon juice, water, and agave (if using) into the slow cooker and stir to mix. Turn temperature to high, and cover.

3. I cooked my apple butter for four hours on high. Check every 30 minutes or so, giving the mixture a stir. Once the apples break down and it looks like apple sauce, blend with a stick blender until smooth. If you don't have a stick blender, you can blend in a blender once cooked and cooled. Add desired amount of cinnamon and nutmeg.

4- After four hours on high, I was happy with the consistency and thickness. Continue cooking until the mix reaches the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings.  Turn off slow cooker and let mixture cool enough to handle. Place in jars or in re-sealable freezer bags to freeze.

Enjoy your apple butter! It makes a great spread for bread or crackers, a sauce for pork, a dip for fruit, or a dessert topping.


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