I made apple butter for several years running, perhaps thinking I was going to get some Susie Homemaker Award or something. I do love apple butter, don’t get me wrong, but I decided it just wasn’t worth it. Read on for the method and more of why you only want to try it once:
Start by peeling, coring, and dicing a HUGE number of apples. This is easier if you use a peeler/corer/slicer. (If you like apples at all, this is something you need to have in your kitchen.) Pour 2-3 cups of sugar and several tablespoons of cinnamon over the apple bits and toss to mix.
Then, plug in your large crockpot. Put in just enough water that the bottom is covered, then put your plethora-o’-apples in. Now, let the whole deal simmer on low heat for at least a day or two, or even three. Stir occasionally, and watch for that apple-buttery texture to develop. I’m telling you, it will take a long time, and the apples will have to cook WAY down before it’s right.
(Hyperbole alert!) When you are done, you will find that you’ve cooked 85 bushels of apples down and now have 3.2 pints of apple butter. Hope you really like it, because it just cost you $4000 a jar.
Okay, that bit above is really exaggerating, but every time I’ve made apple butter, I was really disappointed with the very small amount that I got from a really colossal number of apples. And I actually found that I liked the store-bought variety BETTER for flavor and consistency. It may be a character flaw in me–in fact, that’s very likely. But there it is. I recommend that you spend your apple butter money on buying a few nice jars from the store, and save yourself several hours of labor and several days of cooking. Maybe you want to try it once, just to feel like the old-fashioned Little House wife on the prairie–you can even can the apple butter after it’s done. But I think you’re going to end up agreeing with me.
ADDED NOTE: We’ve revised our opinions on this subject. Be sure to check out our updated thoughts here.
Also, be SURE to read all the comments below. We received some great ideas and musings from different readers.