Last week, my sister tipped me off to a great little apple orchard near here that only charges $1/lb of apples. The kids and I went and picked a bushel of gorgeous, juicy Jonathons. That many apples inspires apple pie and applesauce. But I wanted to do something new, so, the last few days I spent canning applesauce and finally decided to make apple butter for the first time.
Since I've never made apple butter before, I didn't really know what I was doing. I just put two big batches of pure applesauce in my dutch oven and added some brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cardamon, and cloves -- way too many cloves since I added the other spices first and assumed the cloves had one of those little sifter things over the opening. It didn't. I ended up scraping up a whole lotta cloves and throwing it away. I also tasted it as I got it going and decided it needed some molasses and stevia, so I added those, too.
About two hours into it cooking, it occurred to me to look up a recipe for apple butter. All of the recipes I found referred to reducing the applesauce and adding a teaspoon or two of cinnamon and a bit of cloves in the last hour or just before finishing. I was worried. I had added a whole lotta cloves... and other spices. And up front.
But I kept stirring for hours. Finally, I was tired of checking on it, so I turned it up to high and pulled up a stool in front of it and stirred it near-constantly until it was reduced by half. Then I canned it.
There was just a bit left over and I stuck that in the refrigerator. I had been tasting it as it was cooking and thought it was good, but just that -- good. Tonight I got it out of the refrigerator for our bedtime snack and spread it on some thick slices of homemade bread and.... ooooooooh, aaaaaaah....mmmmmmm.... total deliciousness.
I was thinking that the stuff I canned I would give away as Christmas presents, but I'm not sure I can wait to share this goodness! Apple butter -- the highly spiced kind -- is going to be a regular fall event around here. It is SOOOOOOO delicious!!