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.