For a taste of the past, we're sharing a vintage recipe for old-fashioned apple butter. Apple butter was a popular way to preserve the fall harvest and enjoy the flavors of sweet apples all year long. This recipe is made with just a few simple ingredients and slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in a rich and flavorful spread that's perfect for toast, biscuits, and more. Let's get started!
- 5 lbs. apples (a sweet variety like Fuji or Honeycrisp works well)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- Immersion blender or food processor
- Canning jars with lids and bands
- Large stockpot or canner with rack
- Jar lifter
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Wide-mouth funnel
- Clean dish towels or paper towels
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Wash, peel, and core the apples. Cut them into chunks and place them in a large stockpot or Dutch oven.
- Add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and salt to the pot with the apples.
- Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very soft and the mixture has thickened.
- Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree the mixture until smooth.
- Return the pot to low heat and continue to simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, for another 30-45 minutes, until it has thickened even more and reached a spreadable consistency.
- While the apple butter is still hot, carefully ladle it into clean, sterilized canning jars, leaving about 1/4 inch of headspace at the top.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth, and place the lids and bands on top, tightening the bands until they're snug but not too tight.
- Place the jars in a large stockpot or canner with a rack, and cover them with water so that the water is 1-2 inches above the jars.
- Bring the water to a boil and let the jars process for 10-15 minutes, depending on your altitude (check a trusted canning resource for specific processing times).
- Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars from the water and let them cool on a clean towel or wire rack.
- After the jars have cooled, check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn't move up and down, the jar is sealed and can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year. If the lid does move, the jar isn't sealed properly and should be refrigerated and used within a few weeks.
- You can adjust the amount of sugar and spices to your liking, depending on the sweetness of the apples and your personal preferences.
- Try using different varieties of apples or adding other fruits like pears or cranberries for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
- Serve the apple butter on toast, biscuits, pancakes, or use it as a glaze for roasted meats or vegetables.
Making old-fashioned apple butter is a simple and satisfying way to enjoy the flavors of fall all year round. This recipe requires just a few basic ingredients and can be easily customized to suit your tastes. By following the instructions carefully and using proper canning techniques, you can create a delicious and long-lasting spread that will become a staple in your pantry.