Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Amateur Attempt at Apple Butter

I forged ahead into the intimidating realm of canning solo this week.  Usually very reliant on my mother's help, this year I decided to act like a big girl and conquer it on my own.  One of our apple trees is now ripe, and I picked nearly 100 apples from it.  I used half to make apple butter, and the other half I saved for making applesauce.

 Following the simple recipe I found in my very handy Ball Blue Book, I quartered and cored the apples and let them simmer in water until tender on the stove.  I did not have to peel the apples because I would put them through a food mill in the next step.  This portion of the process was fairly painless.

I then put the put apples through my food mill, which pureed them to a delicious sauce-like consistency and removed all the peelings.  I added my sugar, cinnamon, and cloves to the puree and returned the pot to the stove to boil down to jelling point.  The kitchen took on a glorious holiday smell, triggering fantasies of Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and apple pies.

This is the part I was slightly unprepared for: it took about three hours for the heavenly mixture to reach jelling point.  So, I finished the second half of my current fluff read*, ate three pieces of cake, and made a pot of coffee.  If you attempt this, you may find having some of these things on hand to be beneficial.

Turtle cake, one of my favorite things in life

Once the apple butter reached jelling point (rounds up on a spoon and falls off in sheets rather than drips), I poured it into my hot, sterilized jars, put the lids on, and placed them in a pot of boiling water for ten minutes. Around fifty apples produced just over 6 half pint jars of butter - which was a little disappointing after a total of 6 hours of work.  I probably won't attempt that again this year. However, it tastes like Christmas on toast and I got some good reading time in.

Apple butter and applesauce produced from 100 apples

*Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, my second fluff read "break" since picking up Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire again.  My first fluff read break was Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting.  I highly suggest checking both out.  Maybe not Gibbons, unless you're intellectually sadistic.  I may fall into that category.  


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