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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crock Pot Apple Butter - Easy Christmas Gift!

This year we had an abundance of apples, so my weekends for a couple of months were spent canning apples. The tree was so loaded that we would have to pick apples just to keep the limbs from breaking!  Crock pot apple butter was one of the easiest projects for preserving the apples.   

This is made overnight in a 5 quart crock pot.  It takes very few ingredients.  You just need some time and effort to peel, slice, and core the apples, put the ingredients and apples in the crock pot overnight, and the next morning you'll have a batch of apple butter! A one-piece peeler-corer-slicer makes dealing with the apples a breeze. 

Crock Pot Apple Butter
5-6 pounds tart apples peeled, cored, and sliced/chopped (I use the peeler-corer-slicer like this one:  Peel Away Apple Peeler (Google Affiliate Ad)
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Instructions:  Place apples in slow cooker.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl then pour over apples and mix well.  Cover and cook on high 1 hour.  Reduce heat to low and cook 9-11 hours (this is why I say to do it overnight!).  Stir occasionally, scraping sides to prevent sticking.  Apples will be thickened and dark brown.  If there is still a lot of liquid, uncover and cook 1 hour longer.  

At this point, the apple butter may be lumpy.  You have three choices:  You can stir/whisk it and leave it with some lumps.  You can use a potato masher to mash it throughly by hand, or you can use a food processor to puree it in batches before preserving it. 

This will keep 2 weeks in the refrigerator, unpreserved.  It will also keep in the freezer or deep freeze for up to a year.  You can also can it in jars by pouring it into sterilized canning jars, topping it with a lid and seal, then processing it in a water bath for 20 minutes.  Apples are one of the easiest things to can because of their acidity, so this is an excellent option. 

Apple butter is excellent served with hot, fresh biscuits.  I also like it stirred into oatmeal, and you can add it to muffin batter or pancake batter for a wonderful spiced apple flavor!  It would be an excellent gift along with a few other goodies in a gift basket. 

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