Recipe: How to Make Apple Butter

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My childhood memories of apple butter come from being at my father’s mother’s house—I don’t remember if Grandmother served it to me or ate it herself while I was visiting. She clearly loved it,  but I didn’t think I would—maybe it was the brown color that turned me off as child.

Little did I know what I was missing! I didn’t realize the color came from the cinnamon, cloves and allspice–all wonderful flavors I love. Luckily for me, at some point in time, I discovered how good apple butter is and how it can be used with many different foods. Now I consider it a real treat!

I wanted to learn how to make apple butter myself, and when I discovered how easy it was  using this recipe, I was thrilled. This can be your new specialty to make when you have folks coming over for Christmas breakfast or brunch (or if you just want to indulge yourself).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApple butter also makes a great gift food to share with your friends as a homemade holiday present. With an airtight container of apple butter, you could add a loaf of quick bread, and your friends would have a delicious breakfast ready to enjoy.

P.S.–This apple butter smells fabulous while it’s cooking, and I would suggest making a double batch because it tastes so-oo good.

Homemade Spiced Oven Apple Butter

8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 cup apple juice
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Cook diced apples and juice in a Dutch oven over medium heat 20 to 30 minutes or until apples are tender. Stir until apples are mashed. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour apple mixture into a lightly greased 11×7-inch baking dish.

Bake at 275 degrees for 4 ½ hours, stirring every hour, or until spreading consistence. Let the mixture cook, cover and chill.

Yield: 3 cups apple butter.

Cook’s Tip: I ran my apple and apple juice mash through my blender after cooking the mixture to smooth it before cooking it in the oven. I also added some apple juice toward the end of the long baking period to keep the mixture more fluid.

Serving Options:

For breakfast, put apple butter on toast, bagels, biscuits, muffins, quick bread, pancakes, waffles, yogurt and oatmeal. I used the apple butter with French toast sticks in the photos–delicious!

For lunch, try it on grilled cheese , peanut butter, turkey and apple slices, roast beef, or ham and cheddar sandwiches.

For cocktail parties, try it in sauces for chicken wings or barbeque meatballs, as a condiment on baguette slices with bleu cheese, or as a dipping sauce for apple slices.

For dinner, use apple butter with pork loin, pork chops, pulled pork, ham, chicken, meatloaf, beef, baked beans, and more.

Apple butter will always evoke a tasty memory of grandmotherly love for me. Try it to see if you can create your own special feelings about this versatile apple condiment.

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