Thursday, October 8, 2009

Caramel Apple Butter

Through late summer and fall it seems I find myself in the kitchen canning several times a week.  I have canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce for several years, but as time goes by I seem to add more and more things to the list.  It's become almost an obsession, trying to fill all of those jars, getting my storage area as full as possible.   Here is a picture of a portion of what I have in our storage area.  Alas, it has turned cold and all of the vegetables have frozen.  Not so for apples.  Those of you with apple trees are probably just getting started.  I have been canning applesauce and apple butter.  I've experimented with a few apple butter recipes and have found one that I love.  So, I thought I would share!

Crockpot Caramel Apple Butter

14 c applesauce  (use about 6 lbs apples, I cut and core mine, then cook them down in a small amount of apple or grape juice, then run them through the food mill to puree and remove the skins)
Place apples in a large crockpot.  Add 4 cups sugar and mix in thoroughly.  Cook on high without lid for a very long time stirring occasionally.  The batch I made today was in the crockpot for about 14 hours (I made applesauce last night and just left it in over night).  It doesn't need to be that long, just until it is cooked down to a butter consistency and turns a dark amber color.  Unwrap and add 43 caramels to the pot.  When caramels are melted and incorporated, check the temperature with a candy thermometer if you have one.  It should reach about 160 degrees F.  If your crock does not get hot enough, move the butter to a pot on the stove.  Pour into prepared jars and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.  (Please adjust these times according to your local extension offices guidelines for your altitude)  If you like, you may add 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1 tsp cinnamon.  This recipe makes 6 pints or 12 half pints.