there’s something about a chilly saturday afternoon that just makes you want to stay inside and bake all day. last november i tackled cooking and canning apple butter for the first time and i’m proud to say the butter i made last year actually preserved correctly and is just as delicious this year. but since i’m running low, i decided it was time to make a fresh batch. i’ll run through the steps as we go through the pictures and i’ve included the fully detailed recipe at the end of the post. there’s nothing like warm biscuits and apple butter on a lazy sunday morning.
you’re going to get yourself a whole bunch of good cooking apples. i happened to have a ton left over from apple picking, but otherwise i would go with a good bunch of granny smith (my favorite). the best part of this recipe is that you don’t have to peel or core these apples (unless you don’t have a way to strain them out later). you’re just going to cut them up into quarters and empty them into a wide shallow pan filled with a bit of water and apple cider vinegar.
pile the apples in your pan (i used my dutch oven) and bring the liquid to a boil. cook for another 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, and you’ll break down the apples completely.
this is what you end up with. it may look ugly but it smells incredible.
from there, the apples take a trip into your food mill, which is an amazingly simple hand powered strainer. i just got mine for my birthday a few weeks ago (thanks mom!) and i’m already on the lookout for more recipes that use it. give yourself a workout straining out the cores, seeds and peels, add a bit of sugar and cinnamon to the apple puree, and you’ve got…
…applesauce! if all you wanted was applesauce, stop now. eat! if you dare to make apple butter, press on, putting the applesauce back on high heat for a few hours. keep a close eye on the apple butter and stir it constantly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom and develop a crust.
the apple butter goes a little crazy on high heat. like, bubbly, deadly crazy. i burned myself several times and covered the kitchen in hot apple puree. of course, i was cooking without a shirt on (it got REALLY hot in the kitchen) so i only have myself to blame for singed chest hair. your inclination might be to cover the pot, but leaving the pot uncovered actually helps the apple butter thicken more quickly because you can promote evaporation by stirring constantly, and at the same time moisture isn’t building up on the pot lid and dripping right back in.
canning apple butter is not as scary as it sounds, but i didn’t capture any pictures of it because i was concentrating on not burning myself (any more) while sterilizing the jars and then sealing the filled jars in boiling water. there are full directions for canning below.
after the apple butter is all finished, the biscuits are a breeze. the recipe comes from alton brown, who, for whatever reason, was the first person that came to mind when i thought of biscuits. rest assured, it uses plenty of buttermilk.
you can store and reheat the biscuits over the following week if for whatever reason you can’t devour a dozen at a time (you wimp). slather the apple butter on anything and everything. it’s good hot and cold, and a big ‘ole jar makes a really good gift for the holidays.