Most school kids go apple picking in Quebec in the Fall. Kids pile into school busses as the weather turns crisp and cold, then run through the orchards pelting apples at each other, screaming and laughing, and eating as many apples as their little bodies will hold. One year, my kid ate 15 apples and came home red faced and bloated, but bursting with pride over his achievement.
But what to do with all the apples the kids bring home? Apple butter! Nothing beats the fresh taste of autumn on your toast all winter long.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
- 8 pounds of apples (about 25 medium apples)
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups water
- Sugar to taste (see below)
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
Wash apples, then cut into quarters, leaving peels and cores intact. Put the apples into large pot, add the vinegar and water, then cover and cook until apples are soft, stirring frequently, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat.
Purée the apples through a food mill, then add the salt, spices, lemon juice and rind.
Measure the resulting puree. For the sugar, add anywhere from ⅛-½ cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. (I like my apple butter on the tart side, so I use about ⅛ of a cup per 1 cup of puree). You can also use no sugar at all, but sugar brightens up the flavour, so I recommend adding a little.
Transfer the apple puree to the slow cooker, then cook on high for 8-10 hours, with the lid ajar to allow the steam to escape and the puree to cook down and become more concentrated.
When it’s done, remove any hardened skin that has formed on the top of the apple butter, and then use a hand blender to blend the apple butter into a smooth, thick paste.
Ladle apple butter into 1 pint jars, then process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.