Fall brings apples, and every year at this time, I look for ways to use the fruit that we pick from the orchard ($90 worth this time!). Besides pies and crisps, which I make every year, I wanted to concentrate some of the apples into a spreadable butter.
There’s no dairy in apple butter, so it refers to the consistency, something that can be smeared with a knife. I used a recipe from The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving. First, I didn’t use the varieties it calls for (McIntosh and Granny Smith): I used what my family picked which were Gala (aromatic and sweet) and Cortland (pale, holds its shape). This particular recipe calls for first cooking the apples in cider, then adding sugar and cooking them for another half hour.
I found this to be a time-consuming way to make apple butter. After about 90 minutes, which was a half hour longer than the recipe prescribes, my mixture finally started to get darker and thicken, but I didn’t want to wait any longer. The next morning, after the apple mixture had chilled, it resembled regular yogurt in texture, thicker than applesauce, but not as thick as soft butter. A few chunks of apple (presumably the Cortlands) remained.
In the (very near) future, I want to try a more hands-free technique, namely cooking the apples in the oven or slow cooker.