Apple Butter Uses Up: Apples or can substitute with pears, apricots, or quince.
Having a few jars of this healthy, no-added-sugar silky-sweet buttery fruit spread has been a lifesaver. Plus it’s a great way to use up the apples we picked every fall. No butter, peeling, or stirring involved. Using a slow cooker means you can sit back and relax while this is stewing. Eat it with a spoon, spread it on toast or pancakes or pair it with something savory.
Food 911 To sterilize your jars, boil in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes or run them through the hot cycle in a dishwasher. Heat the new lids in a pot of warm water, setting aside the jar bands. Keep the jars and lids warm until ready to use. Ladle your preserves with appropriate headspace (visit Bernardin). Wipe the rim with a damp clean cloth, place the warm lids on the jars, and screw the jar bands on until you just meet resistance. Carefully submerge the jars in the boiling-water canner and process for the appropriate amount of time (see Bernardin). Transfer jars to a clean tea towel and do not disturb for 24 hours. Place any unsealed jars (top of the lid pops when pressed) in the fridge and use within the week. Note that canning jars and bands/rings can be reused, but the lids need to be new.
- slow cooker
- 4 lbs. of apples quartered, with stems, cores, and seeds removed (use a combination of sweet and tart apples like Granny Smith with Honeycrisp) (see substitutions) about 12 apples
- Apples with pears, apricots, or quince or mix-and- match.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half and sliced lengthwise to expose pasty seeds
- Pinch sea salt
Optional Add Ins:
- 2 star anise pods
- lemon juice or orange juice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice or cloves
- Add the apples, water, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and salt to your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 5 hours, stirring and mashing the fruit halfway through the cooking time.
- Open the lid of the slow cooker and cook for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mixture darkens and most of the liquid evaporates. It should look nice and saucy. Check and stir occasionally.
- Let cool slightly, remove the vanilla pod (save and wash for another use), cinna-mon stick, and star anise (if using). Transfer to a food processor or blender. Blenduntil you have a buttery silky-smooth purée, emulsifying all those skins. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice if you like.
- If your apple butter is watery after puréeing, put it back in the slow cooker with the lid open for an extra 15 to 20 minutes (or in a saucepot over medium-low heat), stirring occasionally until thick. Transfer to clean jars, seal, label, date, and refrigerate.
This apple butter recipe is one of my favourites! To view more of zero waste recipes, check out my other dishes here.