Apple butter is incredibly easy in the slow cooker and tasty on everything. Caramelized with brown sugar and plenty of spices, it will bring fall to your home.
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I don’t care that it’s still technically summer; I don’t care that I’m back in Miami and that it’s 90 degrees outside.
It’s September, it’s fall, and you can’t tell me otherwise!
I love fall, it’s my favorite season. And going to apple orchards is one of my absolute favorite fall activities. We bring home bushels of apples and I get to baking and canning and gifting and it’s just the official start to the holiday season to me. After Labor Day, it’s holiday season to me.
Apple butter is the start of fall; it’s just like pumpkin stuff, it’s everywhere once Labor Day is over. And forget the canned stuff, it’s just as easy to make it and actually much more affordable.
You’ll have a slow cooker full of apple butter to store or can and give away and your house will smell like you’re baking apple pie. And if that doesn’t make you want to break out the cozy scarves and candles, I don’t know what will.
So what exactly is apple butter?
The apples are slow cooked with spices and sugar and are slowly caramelized, becoming dark brown and absolutely delicious.
It looks like applesauce but it’s sweet, thick and so smooth. Spread it on things like English muffins, toast, pumpkin bread, and muffins.
It’s a wonderful fall substitute for jelly and jams and I haven’t met one person who didn’t love receiving a homemade jar of apple butter along with some other fall goodies like chai mixes or pumpkin muffins.
To make the apple butter all you need to do is peel and chop your apples, throw them in with some spices and sugar, and cook ’em down in the slow cooker all day. Then mash them down and leave the top off the slow cooker so the excess liquid evaporates for another two hours. It’s literally that easy.
Make sure to use Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith or research what types of apples you would like to use in your apple butter, because certain apples will lend a mealy texture or a bland or strange flavor, like Red Delicious. My personal loves are Fuji and Pink Ladies, with a few Granny Smiths for balance against the apple butter being too sweet.
Remember to allow the butter to cool before slathering it all over everything and to keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
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- 6 lbs of apples
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup light brown
- 1 cup raw sugar or white granulated sugar
- 2 sticks cinnamon, or 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- A dash of all spice
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Peel your apples and give them a rough chop. Dump them in your slow cooker, along with the spices and sugars.
- Set your slow cooker on high for six hours, covered. Leave it alone. Your house will smell like apple pie all day.
- After the six hours, mash the apples with a potato masher or fork until almost the texture of applesauce. The apples should be a beautiful deep reddish brown color and the sugars dissolved. The slow cooker will be full of liquid, so for the next two hours leave it uncovered so the liquid can evaporate.
- Keep an eye on the apples butter during the two hours, but the butter should be thick with a small amount of liquid once done. Keep mashing the apples at your leisure, until the individual apples no longer have a form.
- Taste the mixture, add lemon juice a bit at a time to lighten the sweetness.
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.