September 26, 2013 by BettyCupcakes
There was an apple tree in my grandparents’ backyard that had branches low enough to the ground to climb. I spent hours climbing and sitting in that tree, surveying the flat Oklahoma City landscape around me. Their neighborhood was suburban with neatly kept lawns and aluminum patio furniture in every back yard. Perhaps I’d feel differently now, but as a child, their house was my favorite place in the world.
When I was small, I would pick the tangy-tart, barely edible green apples off the tree, slice them with the butter knife my grandmother gave me, and add water. Meeno and Papa Jack gladly “ate” my apple soup.
When we spent weeks with them during the summer, they made biscuits and gravy every Sunday morning. Any leftover biscuits were eaten in the afternoon, cold and slathered with apple butter. I always felt so grown up eating apple butter and biscuits with my grandparents. It’s so much more complex than regular jellies or jams, with it’s cinnamon and spices mingling in a dense, thick preserve.
Despite it’s rich flavor, apple butter is exceptionally easy to make at home. Allowing the apples to simmer in the slow cooker overnight develops and caramelizes their natural sugars. A hint of cinnamon and cardamom add warmth.
Crock Pot Apple Butter
- 10 cups sliced apples ~9 apples (a variety is best- I used McIntosh, Cortland, and Empire)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 6 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
- Combine all ingredients in a large, 6 quart slow cooker and still coat the apples. You want enough liquid to just barely cover the apples, so add more juice, if necessary.
- Cook on low for 10-12 hours. During the last two hours, prop open the lid with a wooden spoon to allow water to evaporate. This helps thicken the apple butter. Stir occasionally during the last two hours to prevent burning. Apple butter is thickened when it appears thick and easily coats a spoon.
- Once the apple butter has thickened, remove it from the slow cooker and add it to a large food processor. Pulse 4-5 times until smooth.
- Keep in refrigerator. Lasts about 2 weeks.
Yields 4 cups of apple butter.