Growing up in the foothills of New York State’s Adirondack mountains, when fall arrived we were surrounded by apples galore. A favorite apple story of mine was recanted by my dear cousin. Apparently, one of our aunts asked her sister if she had the apple pie recipe of one of their other sisters. Our aunt Esther summarily and succinctly responded, “I think she uses macs.” That’s how folks rolled back then in those parts and apple season was a highly anticipated time.
Yet for all the varieties of apples we had in our midst, all the cider that we had cranked out at the Burrville Cider Mill from apples off our own trees, and all the pies we enjoyed that were made from our apples, there was one apple delicacy that we had to cross the Canadian border in order to get: Apple Butter.
While I was putting this together, which could hardly be less complicated, I could not help but wonder if my folks were aware how easy this is to make. Granted, crock pots weren’t marketed until around 1971 and took a while to come into vogue. Still, this recipe for apple butter and countless others serve as stark reminders of the usefulness of our slow cookers. Today, it’s hard to imagine any kitchen without one.
As I mentioned, we did consider apple butter a delicacy – to the point that I grew up thinking that it was made exclusively in Canada. Thus, the 2 hour or so journey to the birthplace of my great-grandfather, the namesake for our oldest son, was made once or twice each year. These visits usually occurred in the fall and lasted a week or so while my parents made their rounds, visiting and staying with one cousin of theirs or another. Every time we crossed the border on the trip back from Ontario to New York, we always brought with us the memories of a lifetime. And apple butter. Happy fall to you. -Dan
- Approximately 3 lb. apples
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. allspice
- ½ tsp. cloves
- Dash of salt
- ¾ cup water or fresh apple cider
- Fill Crock-pot ¾ full with cored and sliced apples.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly mixed.
- Cover and cook on low setting overnight or until the butter is of a thick, spreadable consistency.
- Use immersion blender to purée and incorporate skins into the apple butter.
- If apple butter has too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Stir often as butter thickens to prevent scorching.
Use immersion blender to purée and incorporate skins into the apple butter.
Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Freeze for longer storage.
Variation: For a less sweet apple butter, substitute 1 cup honey for the sugar.