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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?
Now that you know how to make apple butter, what’s one of your favorite things to eat it on?
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.