Learn how to make apple butter like the pioneers of old… because can one get much more old-fashioned than jars of thick apple creaminess? I love the twist on this recipe to use apple cider in place of water for an even more apply experience.
Don't you love it when you meet someone new and have an instant connection? That's how I felt when I first met Appalachian author Joanne Bischof and now here she is on my blog showing you how to make apple butter!
I was thrilled when she offered to share her tutorial and recipe, because everyone needs a quick and easy apple butter, but apple butter recipes for canning are where it's at! I know you'll adore Joanne as much as I do.
In her words:
As an author of Appalachian romance, I love doing research. But what’s even more fun than the research, are the hands-on activities that harken back to the early 1900’s, the days of my characters. I’m a country girl at heart but am still new to the world of simple living, so when I started blogging about two years ago, I decided to start a thread called the “Adventures of Country Living.” I really wanted to embrace the spirit that we don’t have to be an expert at something to give it a try.
It’s all about having fun and learning something new, right? Plus, embracing the pioneer spirit brings us closer to one another and closer to our own two hands resulting with that “I can’t believe I did it!” victory dance. Yes, I victory dance when projects turn out well.
One of those projects that I’ve been skirting around for a while is canning. I met Melissa and instantly fell in love with her pioneering ways and encouraging spirit, plus her tutorials are awesome! I tried her apple pie filling tutorial and it was fabulous. I still had ton of apples, and when she encouraged me to give canning a try, I did!
I called up my neighbor who had all the canning supplies and my mother-in-law had some cases of jars she wanted to use up, so…I was officially out of excuses. I made a few changes to the recipe, like cutting the sugar and using apple cider to replace some of the water and it turned out delicious. I’d love to share how to make apple butter from scratch with you today!
Old Fashioned Apple Butter Recipe (This made about 8 pints):
8 pounds of apples (about 32 medium)
4 cups of sugar (or more as needed, up to 8 cups)
2 cups liquid, water or apple cider
2 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
4 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
Wash apples, core, peel and quarter (or you can leave them whole and simply use a food mill). Combine apples with 4 cups of liquid, sugar, cinnamon and cloves (water or cider—the more cider ratio you use, the more apple-y it will be!) Simmer until apples are soft, then mash or puree to desired consistency. (I used a potato masher and wished I had a food mill to get it a little more fine.)
Continue to heat apple mixture on low, stirring frequently, until it thickens to desired consistency (I allowed mine to thicken for about an hour, though it could have gone a little longer). As it turns into apple butter, it will become darker and rich.
During this time, I had washed the jars, rings and lids in the dishwasher and everything was keeping warm. The canning kettle was filled to the right level and the water had begun to boil. I set the lids to heat on the stove in a little water and got all set up to begin the canning process.
Ladle hot apple butter into the hot jars (half pints or pints), leaving ¼ inch of head space, wipe the jar mouths with a clean, damp rag and gently screw the lids on.
Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Remove lid from canner and let sit for 5 minutes. Then remove jars onto a towel and allow to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Check seals and move to your pantry shelves to enjoy all year long.
Note: if 1,000 feet above sea level process the jars for an extra ten minutes, 20 minutes total.
Let me just say, that pulling the jars out of the canner and hearing the lids pop into place filled this newbie with a sense of joy. I might have started doing the happy dance right then and there! We popped open a can the following day and spread it on our favorite pancakes and it was amazing. The kids loved it and my husband who adores all things apple was in heaven. So much that we started on our second jar before breakfast was even over.
Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. The first book in her Appalachian Romance series, Be Still My Soul, released this October.
Be Still My Soul is one of the best books I've ever read. Yep, you read that right. One of the best.
I expected to like this book due to the setting. Raised in the mountains, I was excited to read this novel. Joanne blew me away from the first page. I instantly felt tied to Lonnie. Her pain was mine to the degree my throat ached with tears. This is not your average shot-gun wedding novel. The characters are excellent, the story complex, and the emotion high, with the whisper of God tugging at your soul.
What's your favorite way to preserve apples? What's the best book you've read this year?
How to Make Apple Butter- Easy Canning Instructions
- 8 pounds of apples about 32 medium
- 4 cups of sugar or more as needed, up to 8 cups
- 2 cups of liquid water or cider
- 2 cups vinegar 5% acidity
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- Wash apples, core, peel and quarter (or you can leave them whole and simply use a food mill). Combine apples with water (or cider if using), vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and cloves (water or cider—the more cider ratio you use, the more apple-y it will be!) Simmer until apples are soft, then mash or puree to desired consistency. (I used a potato masher and wished I had a food mill to get it a little more fine.)
- Continue to heat apple mixture on low, stirring frequently, until it thickens to desired consistency (I allowed mine to thicken for about an hour, though it could have gone a little longer). As it turns into apple butter, it will become darker and rich.
- During this time, I had washed the jars, rings and lids in the dishwasher and everything was keeping warm. The canning kettle was filled to the right level and the water had begun to boil. I set the lids to heat on the stove in a little water and got all set up to begin the canning process.
- Ladle hot apple butter into the hot jars (half pints or pints), leaving ¼ inch of head space, wipe the jar mouths with a clean, damp rag and gently screw the lids on.
- Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. Remove lid from canner and let sit for 5 minutes. Then remove jars onto a towel and allow to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Check seals and move to your pantry shelves to enjoy all year long.
- Note: if 1,000 feet above sea level process the jars for an extra ten minutes, 20 minutes total.
Now that you know how to make apple butter, what's one of your favorite things to eat it on?
Great interview! I love apple butter and the recipe sounds delicious. I have read the book “Be still my Soul” also. It was such a beautiful story – full of unexpected twists that made for a fabulous read!
Thanks, Janette. I’m planning on using Joanne’s recipe this weekend. 🙂 “Be Still my Soul” was great wasn’t it? I loved the surprises peppered through out.
Janette, Which reminds me, I have a jar with your name on it! 😉 You are such a cheerleader and so dear to me!
I can’t find the apple butter recipe, only a cabbage roll recipe.
Sorry about that, we just updated the site and some things weren’t showing correctly, it’s fixed now
I love apple butter on my pancakes! I grew up doing that instead of syrup. Great post! I might just have to make some apple butter this season.
Loree, I’ve never had apple butter on my pancakes, but you can guess we’ll be trying it out now! I’m excited to make this recipe, plus it makes the house smell amazing.
Hi Loree! I grew up with it too! Isn’t there just something about the taste of apple butter that takes you straight to autumn? 🙂 This was the first time I’d made it homemade and the fresh taste was amazing 🙂
Melissa, thanks so much for having me today and my apple butter recipe! You were such an encouragement to try canning and your recipes and tutorials inspire me to keep embracing the pioneer spirit!
I’m thrilled to have you. The biggest part of embracing the pioneer spirit is encouraging and helping others. You my friend, have that part down, and the rest is following swiftly. 🙂 Looking forward to walking the pioneer journey with you.
Who knew there was no butter in apple butter!? I’m such a wanna be pioneer woman. Suburbs woman who dreams of pioneer days. That’s a better title for me!
Love you guys… I can’t wait for Book 2 in your series, Joanne. After knowing your hero’s — um — flaws, I am so NERVOUS with anticipation.
by the way, my paternal grandmother gave me her food mill when she moved into the retirement center. It’s awesome. I would share it with you, Joanne, but it’s one of my prized possessions. I’ve used it to make potato gnocci before. Going to try it on your apples!!! 🙂
Hi Ashley! I love it: suburb mama who dreams of pioneer days. YOU amaze me with your crafting creations, party planning extraordinaire. You have a gift! I will forgive you for not lending me your gran’s foodmill because you’re going to invite us over for some gnocci. Right? 😉
Hey, Ashley, happy to have you here. Even in the suburbs, you can still be a pioneer girl! Did you read Laura Ingalls Wilder growing up? It was my favorite series and still is.
I love baking and I live reading. When the recipe calls for boiling and stirring…that’s time to read with one hand and stir with the other!
Melody, you are a woman after my own heart…reading/stirring…that’s the best way! 🙂 I can see you have your heart in the best of both worlds. Happy reading and baking!!
Melody, you mean I’m not the only one who does that? Whew! What’s your favorite thing to boil and stir? I’m always on the hunt for fun new recipes.
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[…] How to make apple butter from Melissa K. Norris […]
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[…] How to make apple butter from Melissa K. Norris […]
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[…] How to make apple butter from Melissa K. Norris […]
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[…] Now this is a recipe a first time canner can do with ease–and guess what– this was her first time ever canning! Check out how to can apple butter. […]
I assume you add the sugar at the beginning?
Trying out your apple butter recipe. There is an omission of when to add the sugar and spices.
Thank you for the recipe
Thanks, Jenniffer. I fixed it!
9 Ways to Preserve Apples at HomeMelissa K. Norris
[…] biscuits and pancakes. This one uses a special ingredient for a delightful flavor… get your apple butter recipe right here with canning […]
Thank you very much for sharing your recipes and stories. I enjoyed reading your blog and wish you continued success and happiness in your North Cascade Mountains home. I’ll try the apple butter when they are next in season (it’s winter here) cheers..
Hi Margaret! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog and thanks for your kind wished. I’m eye balling the apples on our tree and fingers crossed the deer don’t get to them before they’re ripe.
Immersion blender works wonders to make apple butter smooth. I make apples butter in the crock pot and it turns out marvelous
Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas. When it comes to making apple butter and apple sauce, what kind of apples do you recommend?
My favorite is a Gravenstein, but they’re hard to find in the stores if you’re not growing them yourself. I also like Honeycrisp, Gala’s, Fuji’s and Chehalis for apple pie filling. For applesauce I don’t mind if it’s a more soft apple like a yellow or red delicious.
What can I do with a batch of “runny” apple butter? I made this recipe expect used 3/4 of the recipe, i.e., 6 lbs apples, etc. Even after simmering for 3 hours, then canning, the butter is “runny”. Any ideas on how to use the butter?
One of the best things to do with runny apple butter is use it like apple syrup on pancakes and waffles! You can also swirl it into oatmeal or even yogurt.
Another yummy treat is to whip it up with cream cheese for a spread or fruit dip.
My apples I use are so sweet I don’t put sugar in it.
My Mom canned all the time and canned everything. I have followed in her footsteps and now my daughter does the same. Mom always used the pressure cooker (I’m using her’s now) and when she would take the jars out and as they were sealing and we would hear that ping, we would say “Thank you” and to this day, that is what we say and my daughter does the same. It is something our family has passed down and I know will continue. Try it, it really brings a good smile.
Melissa K Norris of Gardening Workshop/ Joanne Bischoff/Appalachia and Apple Butter in one post I had to look at it. However, I have to ask, 2 cups of vinegar? I see it has a lot of sugar as well, but it’s the only recipe I’ve seen with vinegar. What does that do for the taste? I’ve seen some with small amounts of lemon juice. Do I really want to trust my only supply of apples to this recipe? Convince me, Please!
It’s based from the National Center of Home Food Preservation so yes, it’s a good recipe. But that being said, you can use water, it won’t affect the safety by using water in place of the apple cider vinegar in this recipe. Many of Ball’s recipes for apple butter don’t use the vinegar. So that’s your call on that part, but I would start with water in this recipe, try a small amount of the vinegar, and see what you think, and go from there.
I made this Appalachian Apple butter recipe today and it turned out quite nicely. The vinegar seemed overpowering as it cooked, but by the time it cooked down it added an extra depth to the flavor. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Love Apple Butter, and this is a great receipt. Only today after four hours of cooking I’m not going to get butter, but I will get sauce! And it is so good!! Look out pork chops! Truth be told I goofed on the cider I added an extra cup and decreased the sugar by one cup so that may be the reason it was too watery, Gala, Golden Delicious, and two unknow verities were the apples that were used.
The recipe I have always used is 9 c. apple pulp, 6 c. sugar, 1/2 c vinegar, and a 4 oz. pkg red hots (cinnamon candies). I know the purist police will come after me, but when it’s all loaded with sugar anyway, a little red food dye from the red hots won’t make it any less healthy. And it’s a pretty pink when done.
I’m diabetic, can I use monk fruit or erythritol and it still be safe to can? Thanks!
Valerie S Stout
We are trying so hard to use less sugar when possible. Is it okay to substitute honey for the sugar and still safely can it? Thank you!