DIY

I Made My Own Apple Butter — Here’s How You Can, Too

by Kim Wong-Shing

Fall is upon us, which means that you will probably go apple picking at some point, which means that you will probably wind up with 50 extra apples taking up way too much space in your kitchen. The answer to this problem is apple butter.

There are a lot of reasons to love this sweet spread. If you live in a part of the world where the leaves will soon fall off the trees, and it will start getting dark at 4 p.m., then apple butter will stay waiting in your fridge throughout the cold, reminding you of the days of sweater weather and fresh fruit.

And if you live in a part of the world where scorching hot weather persists all year long, then still, might I recommend apple butter? It has a way of transporting you into that cozy “fall” feeling, regardless of the weather outside.

Here’s how I know that apple butter is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Once, when I was in my early 20s, I dated a horrible guy — as one does. I went all the way to California to be with this guy, and I met his mother and everything. Before I went home, his mother gifted me a jar of apple butter, which she’d made from scratch.

Soon after, I realized that the horrible guy was horrible, and he broke my heart. But you know what? I still savored the heck out of that apple butter. It was an excellent consolation prize.

Relatedly, I do believe that the best apple butter is homemade, even if it’s by your crappy ex-boyfriend’s mom. But until this attempt, I’d never actually made my own before. Turning a whole fruit into a jarred product screams “crafty chef” to me, which is one thing I absolutely am not.

But I do like a challenge, and if I can even come close to that magical jar of post-breakup apple butter, it’ll have been worth it.

This is how I fared!

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First, a head’s up. This apple butter recipe is easy. It involves no canning, no boiling, and no sterilization. It’s simple, because I am not a crafty chef.

Here’s what I used.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients
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Ingredients-wise, you don’t need much.

Apples, of course.

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You need five apples, cored and roughly chopped. Use the ones left over from apple picking, or buy your favorite at the store. I used Gala apples.

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You could peel them, but I’m lazy, so I didn’t.

Then you need cinnamon.

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And sweetener. Many recipes call for a lot of sugar, but I don’t like super-sweet stuff, and I recall my ex-boyfriend’s mom bragging about how the secret behind her apple butter was not over-sweetening it, so I stuck with maple syrup for mine.

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In addition to those basics, the recipe I used calls for lemon juice.

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And ground cloves.

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And a little salt.

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And that’s it!

Cook It Forever

Cook It Forever
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Throw all the ingredients into a pot or slow cooker, and stir it all together.

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I decided to make my apple butter in a slow cooker. Making it on the stovetop takes a couple of hours, and I am too impatient to keep an eye on the stove for that long. Not I!

Making it in a slow cooker takes about six hours, but on the plus side, you can mostly just turn it on and forget it — you don’t have to keep an eye on a darn thing.

I felt really pleased with myself for this low-fuss method, until I checked on my apple butter 2½ hours later and realized that…

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I’d completely forgotten to plug in the slow cooker.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS?

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I turned the slow cooker to High. It looked good after a couple hours, but then it was time to go to sleep, so I left it on the lowest setting possible overnight.

When I woke up, it was all cooked down and ready for the next step.

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Transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Then you can check the texture. If you want it thicker, go ahead and put it back on the heat for 30 minutes to an hour, or until it reaches your desired consistency.

 

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Mine seemed ready after blending.

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So I taste-tested it.

Eat It on Everything

Eat It on Everything
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I tried my apple butter on toast, with breakfast.

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It was nothing short of magical.

It tasted delicious, and it made me feel transported to fall times, even though it’s still entirely too hot outside.

I don’t know if it quite lived up to my crappy ex-boyfriend’s mom’s apple butter, but then again, that lady had a lot of practice.

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I’d still call this a success.

Now, how long will this apple butter stay fresh?

This apple butter is not canned, nor is the recipe designed for that. Canned apple butter is cool because it lasts for practically forever, but you can still keep this apple butter on hand for a long time if you’d like!

Store it in an airtight jar or container, and it will keep in the freezer for six months to a year. You can also store it in the fridge for up to a week.