apple butter // turns out colorado has orchards.

i couldn’t remember the password to login to my blog today because that’s how long it’s been since i have posted. *insert wide-eyed face here.* the recipes have been piling up. . . .stacks of them. they just aren’t on here yet. & part of that is because life has been busy. but most of it is because i haven’t felt much like writing lately. i have nothing to say. and life has been rough & bustling. i could post the recipes alone. but wouldn’t that be boring? a week ago one of my best friends invited me to meet her at her grandmother’s farmstead to pick apples & pears off of the fruit trees. honeycrisps. fujis. my two favorites. she had been telling me about the orchard for years.

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her entire family used to get together every single year in the fall & had quite a streamline process for picking, sorting, peeling, cutting & processing the apples to make homemade apple cider and mead. the basement of her grandmother’s house had a room where the processing went on — a full room of tables & a homemade pulley system for the heavy glass jugs of cider and wine so that they would not have to be manhandled to their destination. underneath the stairs was a cellar where everything was stored. they would wait until after the first frost to begin picking because the apples would have a higher sugar content then.

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since those days, her grandfather has passed, her grandmother has aged and the family just doesn’t take part in such a hefty endeavor for cider anymore. i was completely honored that she even thought of me to join her.

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not only that, but she unwittingly planned the whole excursion during the golden hour. the house sits at the base of the foothills – nestled between some surrounding properties near the mountains and the busy city. b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l.

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without even realizing, we had placed 164 apples and 8 large pears into gigantic baskets that i had brought along. a trunk load of apples!

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on the way home from the farm, i was conjuring up all of the different recipes i wanted to try out. . .apple butter was at the top of the list.

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apple butter, something i grew up on. my dad would bring it to the cabins with us when we would go to the cold mountains for long hunting trips. my sister and i would eat the entire container of apple butter spread over cinnamon toast. the smell brings back nostalgia at its finest.

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next on the list came jelly. compost was a priority as well. the jelly & compost were both going to be making all of the odds & ends of the apples useful. the peels & cores, that of which i saved a plenty. my grandparents had requested some apple crisp — i happily obliged.

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i shared bags of apples with my sister, grandmother & close friend. after that, all i was left with was a small bag of about 20 small apples. i decided to quarter and freeze them for later use — use for something very specific. this thanksgiving, i am going to be making homemade cider with those orchard apples — and from that cider. . . .will come hot buttered rum drinks. coming for thanksgiving dinner? you’re welcome to. & you’re welcome in advance for the hot adult drinks that will be served in abundance. aside from aaalllll of those things, lastly, i made rigby eleanor some homemade dog treats as well as froze some diced apples properly for use in baking frenzies later this season.

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i dropped some apple butter & dog treats next door at the neighbors.

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and have so much left over to share with friends & family. .it. is. ridiculous!

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i felt soo grateful after realizing just how many fruit pieces my friend had allowed me to bring home. i had taken her grandmother a jar of country bean soup mix that i had put together to initially say thank you for letting my family visit the property. this week i sent over some jars of apple butter.

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without further adieu, the recipe i used for the apple butter. this is done in a slow cooker overnight and total cooking time is 12+ hours. do not make this in a hurry. it should be a slow process and you will thank yourself later for taking your time. i promise. you will also thank yourself for even making this at all, as your house is going to smell absolutely delectable. in this particular recipe, the creator states that she does not endorse it for ‘canning,’ or more properly ‘jarring.’ but simply because she does not feel educated enough on the subject in order to feel confident with telling others to safely do so. i did a lot of research on jarring and apples and acidity and ph levels. science-ee stuff. and deemed the recipe just fine for jarring with the boiling water bath method after the sterilization & jarring process.

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97% of the jars sealed up properly. i am still trying to figure out what went wrong with the remaining 3%. unless you are familiar with jarring, i would say follow the instructions just as she has listed out. i’m no expert. i don’t even know what i’m doing. however, those of you who will be receiving jars as gifts. . . .pleeease do not be alarmed. i swear they aren’t jars full of botulism. s.w.e.a.r. xx.

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recipe courtesy — brown eyed baker. [listed out below exactly as she has on her site — please use link above for direct reference].

yield: 4 pints

prep time: 30 minutes

cook time: 12 hours

total time: 12 hours 30 minutes

An easy recipe for Apple Butter, made right in your slow cooker!

INGREDIENTS:

6½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place apples in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Sprinkle over the apples and stir gently to combine. Cook on low for 10 hours.

2. Stir in vanilla extract, breaking up any large chunks of apples that remain. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours.

3. Remove cover and use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until completely smooth. (Alternately, you could puree in batches in a food processor or regular blender.) If you want the apple butter thicker, you can continue to cook it on low with the lid of the slow cooker slightly ajar so that steam can escape.

4. Allow the mixture to cool, then spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 2 months.

(Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)