My mom was a recipe collector. This one, for apple butter made in a slow cooker is one of her prizes. One of my college friends, whose family lived on a ranch in the West, nicknamed it “Suburb Apple Butter”, because it’s made entirely in a slow cooker. He was used to apple butter made in giant copper pots, outdoors, over fires.
To this day, I don’t know where this recipe originated. I can tell you, though, that it’s incredibly easy, and especially tasty warm from the cooker, over ice cream or homemade yogurt. Mom usually made the apple butter with the ‘leftovers’ from her major batch of applesauce canning. She liked to put it in fancy jars to give as gifts, so we always had to be careful we didn’t clean out her stock–the apple butter was so good, though, that it was hard!
To make the apple butter, first you have to stew some apples. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy if you have a Roma food mill. (If you don’t, you’ll have to peel, seed and core your apples prior to stewing.)
7 pounds apples, quartered
1 cup water
In large stock pot, place quartered apples and water. Cook at medium heat, covered, until softened. (You can also steam apples until softened.) Watch carefully to ensure that fruit does not boil dry. (It can take 20 to 35 minutes to soften apples adequately, depending on the type of apple used.) Use a large ladle and carefully transfer apples into bowl of Roma food mill, and process, feeding fruit through at a constant rate. Handle carefully, as apple puree will be hot! Reserve apple puree for use in apple butter (recipe below). Discard peels, cores and seeds.
SUBURB APPLE BUTTER
9 cups stewed apples, blended to puree (see preparation for apples above)
6-7 cups white sugar
2 Tbs red hot candy pieces (cinnamon hearts, dots, or the like)
Stir all ingredients well together, put lid on cooker, and cook on high for 8 hours. Makes 4 1/2 pints. Can in clean jars.
That last step is a lot easier for beginning canners if you follow the directions for sterilizing jars in the Ball Blue Book.
Mom’s notes on the back of the card: “I only use 6 cups of white sugar, but use the full 7 when I use brown sugar.” I also remember that she put in at least 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon candies, because we liked our apple butter with a kick to it. She always bought a fresh Ball Blue Book every canning season, so she’d have the latest news on home canning practices too.