I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Apple Butter

My naughty cousin from South Dakota wrote me a while ago to remind me that it is time to put up some apple butter.

Some readers may remember that I have quite a history with apple butter. When I was a kid I used to visit my grandparents' farm up by Livermore Iowa.

Every once in a while it would rain and I couldn't go outside, or I would run out of ammo for my BB gun. My grandmother had these crazy books cataloging Hillbilly life called Foxfire. The books were part of an anthropology project to record the methods and lives of mountain people. I used to read the books because every once in a while they would have some crazy project for me to work on. Anyway when I was in medical school I unearthed a Foxfire book and found an article on apple butter.

To make a long story short, I shopped around for a huge witch's kettle and I was going to make a stirring stick like they described in Foxfire.
The traditional way to make apple butter is outside in a huge kettle over an open fire. Unfortunately I couldn't locate a Witch's kettle and these were the days before I had outdoor Dutch Ovens. You need the big stick because at a certain point the apple butter splatters when it is boiling. It will burn the crap out of you if it gets on your skin. Hot sugar = ouch! Unfortunately I couldn't locate a Witch's kettle and these were the days before I had outdoor Dutch ovens. Instead I destroyed a kitchen. Although the mess was huge, the apple butter was extraordinary. You can't buy apple butter as good as you can make at home.

Small Batch of Apple Butter

3 pounds granny Smith apples (about 8)
3 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t allspice

Peel and core the apples. Put into a Dutch oven with the cider. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.
At the end of this step the apples will be very soft. Strain the apples.
Return the strained sauce to the pan and add the remainder of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 2 hours until the apple butter thickens to the right consistency.
If you make a small batch like this you can put it into small jars and refrigerate it. No need to can!
You will use this amount of apple butter long before it goes bad in the fridge.