Slow Cooker Apple Butter
It's apple season, and I'm seeing so many people with an abundance of apples. This recipe may be for you!.
Since I was a child, my favorite fruit has been apples. Any variety, I love them all. Knowing this, when I was a little girl, my mom once brought home some apple butter for me to try. Growing up near farms, there was always someone making something from scratch and jarring it up for sale.
As a kid, a brown condiment didn't look the most appetizing. I remember being reluctant to try it. My mom, sensing this, promised me that it was going to be delicious and that I would love it. And, like always, she was right.
Apple butter, for those who may have never had it, is in the jam family, and has a concentrated apple flavor, bursting with cinnamon and spice. It is essentially a cooked down and pureed applesauce. And, it is as perfect on buttered toast as it is licked from the corners of your mouth and from your fingertips.
Now, whenever I have apple butter, I always think of my mom. And if that’s not a good enough reason for me to make this recipe, my second reason is that this recipe is just so easy and yields something so special and delicious with essentially no effort.
The reason you should make this recipe is that you just need to take 5-10 minutes of prep, throw some apples and spices into a slow cooker, and walk away. You will just check on it every hour or so, and in 5 hours you will have something that tastes like you did way more work than you put into it.
This recipe was scaled down for my small household and yields 3 cups. This recipe can easily be doubled.
3 pounds of apples, I like golden delicious and granny smith.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (which has cinnamon and other warming spices)
¼ tsp salt
**Optional: 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
Peel and chop the apples. Add to your slow-cooker bowl.
Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, toss apples with lemon juice. Next, toss the apples with the sugars, spices and salt.
Place lid on slowcooker and set temperature for a “high” cook, which will be 4/5/6 hours for most slowcookers. (Mine had the choice between 4-6 hours, and I chose 6).
Every hour, give the apples a stir. You will notice they will go soft. Once the apples are soft enough to break easily when you press it with your wooden spoon, you are ready to puree. This was about 4 hours for me.
Using an immersion blender, blend the apples until they are smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop out the softened apples into your blender pitcher, blend until smooth, and return to your slow-cooker.
Once the pureed apples have been returned to the slow-cooker, cook on low for about 1-2 more hours. This will ensure the apple and spice flavors are concentrated, and the mixture reduces from an applesauce consistency to that of a thicker spread.
Transfer your mixture into a container to cool. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Let cool completely at room temperature before placing in the fridge. I place my batches in glass mason jars and it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
If you use proper sterilized canning procedures it will obviously last much longer.
I also put some in plastic containers and bags and froze them, just to test out this method. It thawed out fine, required a stir, and was still good on buttered toast.