Apple Butter

Apple Butter
Recipe from The Complete Book Of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard

Notes: After last week's apple picking trip to Watson Farms, we had a sizeable quantity of McIntosh, Cortland and Golden Delicious apples. Since Gabe was born, I don't think I've done any canning, so I dusted off the canning pot, bought some new snap lids, sterilized some half-pint jars, and got to work making apple butter for the first time.

Apple butter contains no dairy at all. I imagine it's so named because of its use as a spread. For the apple varieties, I chose both McIntosh and Cortland: the former to break down easily, and the latter to add some chunkiness. I read too quickly through the recipe and dumped everything in the pot: lemon juice, sugar and apples, instead of simmering the apples first, then adding everything else. I cut the sugar by about a third, as we like tangy rather than cloying. As the applesauce boils, it starts to sputter angrily and scorch on the bottom. Vigorous stirring with a silicone spatula helped to evaporate moisture and to scrape up any bottom bits threatening to burn. It took quite a long time for this to turn the desired thickness and colour. I wasn't keeping track, but it was well over an hour.

The finished product was a little tangy, and not so thick as to be difficult to spread. I think my first attempt was a great success. The only complaint I have is that the yield from using 4 lbs of apples, produced only three half-pint jars plus a bit extra, instead of the six indicated in the recipe.