Why I Love This Recipe
The fall of the year in my home State of Virginia was a time for my family to go either to the apple orchard or go down the mountain to my great-grandparents to pick apples. The mountains and valleys were beautiful with the fall foliage. The air was crisp and fresh. The cool mountain streams that cooled our feet in the summer now ran colder.
As we picked apples, my father would reminisce about the times he had spent with his grandparents on their farm during apple harvest. Apple harvesting wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t easy work. The apples had to be picked and sorted into baskets. All of this was done by hand. Some were taken to market and others would be turned into applesauce, apple cider, apple pies, apple cobblers, apple cakes, apple jelly, and apple butter. Some of the apples were dried to be used through the winter in fried pies and other desserts.
I recall once when I was small our going to visit my great-grandparents. My great-grandfather was making apple cider, and he gave us a tin cup to hold under the cider press (cider mill) to get fresh squeezed apple cider. Other times, my great-grandmother would go to the spring-house and bring up cold cider for us to drink. There was also hot cider that was so good after we had been outside on those cold days. That homemade cider was also put into the apples in the pot that would cook and turn into applesauce!
Those days are just a memory now, but the joy of making apple butter stays with me. Occasionally, I will still make the apple butter from fresh apples. With life being on such a fast pace, about 2-3 years ago, I started using store-bought applesauce to make the apple butter. The scent of the apple butter brings back many pleasant memories. The aroma of apple butter fills the house with a wonderful scent.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Bake some fresh white bread. When it comes out of the oven, spread the apple butter on it. Some people like to put fresh butter on the bread before spreading with the apple butter.
If for gifts, you can put a little bit of fiberfill over the top of the lid, then over that place a circle of material that has been cut with pinking shears, then screw the band back on.
Ingredients You'll Need
96 - 100 ounces of unsweetened applesauce (approximately 11 cups)
6 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Put all ingredients into a large slow cooker and stir well.
Cook 6 hours on high or start on high and then cook on low all day.
Remove the lid the last hour so it will thicken better.
Stir occasionally while cooking.
To test to see if it is done, take out some of the apple butter and put it into a small bowl. It should be thick when it has cooled. It should not be runny nor firm. The apple butter will be dark brown when done.
Wash and sterilize 8 oz. jelly jars.
Dry and put into a 250 degree oven until ready to fill.
Boil a pan of water, and put the jar lids (the part with the rubber around the edge) into the boiling water, and boil 5 minutes.
Take out a jar and fill it with apple butter to within a half inch of the top of the jar.
Wipe the rim with a clean damp cloth. Then dry the edge of the rim with a clean towel.
Take a lid out of the boiling water, dry it off, and put it on top of the jar.
Seal the jar with the band.
Put filled jar back into the oven.
Continue filling jars until all apple butter is all put up (meaning, put into jars).
When jars are filled, remove from oven.
Sit jars on the counter close together on a towel.
Wrap top and sides with several towels.
Check to make sure the jars sealed (the centers of the lids will be depressed).
Label and date the jars.
Store in a cool, dark, and dry place several weeks before serving.
Shelf life is several years but it won't last that long!