Apple Project #2: Apple Butter
Last year, when we came home from a weekend trip to Wisconsin with a bushel of apples, my list of what can be done with them grew from "apple crisp" to include, "apple cider, applesauce, and apple butter." As I wrote before, apple cider is not the easiest thing to do with apples. However, it's possible to just boil quartered apples with some spices and get apple cider that way as well. Applesauce is also a great thing, but I don't like eating it. I think I'm just confused as to what to do with it besides eat it plain - just ... a bowl of applesauce ... But then there's apple butter. My first time making or eating this great stuff was last year. Delicious! Need something to go on your bread? Apple butter. Ran out of syrup? Apple butter. Oatmeal getting a little boring? Apple butter. You could probably put it in yogurt too but I haven't tried that yet.
So when it came around to dealing with another huge batch of apples this year, we made apple butter. The thing that makes this apple butter very special, however, is that we canned it!! Yes. My first-ever attempt at this type of home preservation.
I have to admit that I made my way through rather nervously. You can't read a canning guide without being warned constantly about the possibility of accidentally poisoning anyone who eats what you made. From what I've read, though, it's best to follow a proven and up-to-date recipe, especially when it comes to processing times. The USDA has an excellent guide with basic recipes that I found helpful and reassuring. All of my jars made a nice 'pop' while cooling and I have tested all the seals to make sure they're good, so I would say we were successful. I still have a whole bunch of apples left and I came home with almost as many pears from the farmers market, so there will be more preserving in this kitchen in the next few days! Also, having a helping hand really makes things go better, especially if those hands are your loving husband's.