Apple butter

First canning project! Took me all day, but I pulled it off. Took ten pounds of wild apples from the farm and turned them into eleven half-pint jars of tasty tart apple butter (which have been disappearing quick!) Rodale’s Stocking Up is an indispensable guide for preserving food, including freezing, drying, pickling, jams and jellies, canning, and more.

As recipes go, this has to be one of the simplest, at least in terms of ingredients: apples and apple juice. And lots of elbow grease. And time. Simple does not always mean easy.

Apple butter

10 pounds apples, sliced thin and bad parts removed

6 cups apple juice

Cinnamon and honey, if desired

Bring apple juice to boil, then add apples, return to a boil, then lower heat and simmer over medium heat until apples soften and begin to break down into mush, stirring very frequently so it doesn’t scorch. Best to have two pots half full, rather than one large full one. Run through food mill, then bake at 325ºF in a large roasting pan until thick. When a drop of the butter maintains its shape without liquid separating, it is ready. Season with cinnamon and honey if desired. (I left it as it was.) Sanitize jars and lids in scalding water bath. Spoon apple butter into jars and process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

*For a more detailed explanation of the canning process, check out “Tips of the Trade.”

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