It's almost been a century since I last blogged. I extend many deepest apologies and a delicious crockpot apple butter recipe to my three loyal readers.
I always have big plans with my blog that I can never live up to but maybe when I'm an empty-nester I will become an avid blogger and then, theoretically, I will also have wisdom and life experience to bring to my writing. Bonus! Right now it's hard to balance all the things I want to do and learn and be and sync them with my schedule--three kids, third trimester pregnancy, husband in law school, etc. Excuses, excuses, I know.
I have, like usual, bitten off more than I can chew or rather, picked more than I can chew. I have pounds of peaches and apples. I actually just finished making raisins and fruit juice concentrate from Concord grapes. The bounty of summer is too irresistable, especially when it comes in the form of free picking. I am thankful for so many friends who have fruit bearing trees, or have the green thumb in the garden that I lack (also on the list of things to learn). Since I picked more than I can chew before the fruit flies devour it, I decided to can. I mean, why not? I have nothing else going on...oh wait, see life responsibilities mentioned above. I think I may need psychological help for my endless plate piling ways but since that will never happen, a friend and I tackled apple pie filling yesterday and I came home with 6 quarts. Yum.
But, I've still got a load of peaches and apples left. Don't worry, I 've got plans for them. I'm following a recipe for the canned peaches and pie filling and then freezing the rest for smoothies. If I can get the stinking peels off the peaches, I'll also try to make peach honey just for kicks and giggles. Apple butter is currently stewing in my crockpot from a family recipe which I'm happily sharing below because it's delicious and easy and makes your house smell so divine. Here's the icing on the cake--the jars seal themselves without a waterbath and in my un-air conditioned basement, with summer still lingering, and my little butternut squash sized incubator keeping my temperature 10 degrees higher than everyone elses, that is a match made in heaven.
Speaking of heaven, here's the impossibly easy apple butter recipe. The most time consuming part is chopping the apples which I'm not even peeling this time. So there.
I suggest you sit down with a friend while you chop (makes it more fun) and make the summer last a little into Fall or usher Fall in a little early with this scrumptiously spicy apple butter--whatever you need. It's just about perfect for anything--on biscuits, toast, in a PBJ, mixed into cake or any other idea that crosses your mind.
Mama's Slow Cooked Apple Butter
Makes 3-4 pint jars but it depends on how exact you are with your apples!
4 quarts apples, peeled and chopped (golden and gala are suggested but use whatever you have or picked from your friend's tree!)
2 3/4 cups brown sugar
2 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Pour prepared apples into slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients. Drizzle over apples.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, stirring well with a large spoon once every hour or so. Or, just when you think of it. Reduce heat to low, and cook 10-12 hours until butter becomes thick and dark in color. Stir occasionally with strong wire wisk for smooth butter. Pour into hot, sterilized jars (you can keep your jars hot in the oven), wipe off jar rims with clean cloth, apply lids and rings and cover with a towel. The heat from the apple butter will seal the jars as they cool. Yessssss! (You'll know they've sealed when you touch the top and find it's flat and doesn't give at all when you push down on it. If some don't seal, just refrigerate and eat soon! Darn...)
**If you want a smoother apple butter, puree in your blender, food process or use a hand immersion blender if you're lucky to have one of those (I want one!). You will need to pour back in the crockpot to thicken further, and heat back up for the proper seal. Then, open and eat and share at will.