Saturday, September 27, 2008

Simple Autumn Joys - Oven Apple Butter

Today, I thought I'd share with you one of our fall Simple Autumn Joys - making apple butter. I wasn't feeling quite at the top of my game on the day I made it this week, so please excuse the lack of my own pictures of the process. Despite feeling unwell, the Oven Apple Butter turned out perfectly! Yum!

Are you ready to begin? Strap on your apron, put on some comfortable shoes, play some favorite fall tunes, enlist your helpers and let's get ready to make Oven Apple Butter.

This is my Nanny's recipe, and she has made a note on it that it wasn't a family favorite - but we love it! I don't think I ever remember her making it, or it would have been a favorite for sure. She must have stopped making it before I was big enough to enjoy her efforts! I still use my Nanny's extra large enamel roasting pan. How fun is that?

Begin by buttering the inside of the roasting pan - and even the inside of the lid. This will save you so much clean up later - you'll be glad you did!

Next, remove all the racks from you oven except the lowest one. Test fit your roasting pan and make sure it can go in with the lid on. This is pretty important!

Measure 6 cups of sugar and mix in 1 tablespoon of good cinnamon,
1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. cloves. Set this aside.

Take 6 cups of fresh pure apple cider, place it in a heavy bottom pot and simmer it slowly
until it has reduced to 1 cup.
While the cider is simmering, begin to prepare your apples.

I started with a bushel of 'seconds' and didn't quite use the whole bushel. There is more waste on these imperfect apples, but the price was $8, so I'm willing to do a bit more work to save $$$.
We compost all our fruit and veggie scraps, so there really isn't any waste.
Wash all of your apples well.
I used 1/2 Cortland and 1/2 Melrose - but any nice cooking apples will do.

Are you familiar with the Apple Peeler Corer Slicer? It will be your best friend today.
This is where your little helpers will excel! They love to turn the handle and crank out the sweet peeled slices of apples! They also love to taste test those apples!

Just a quick tip - this handy gadget works best when the apples are firm and not bruised - you will get frustrated if you try to peel soft or wizened apples!
It really makes short work of this job! We had the almost bushel peeled in about 20 minutes!
Be mindful that the juicer the apple, the sticker your kitchen will be - juice flies!

Layer peeled apples and sugar mixture in your buttered roaster until it is filled almost to overflowing! Squish those apples down!

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Pour the cider syrup over the apples in the roaster and cover the
roaster with your buttered (inside) lid.

The roaster will be very very heavy, so be careful not to hurt your back
as you slip it into the oven.

Just leave the apple butter for about 5 hours or so. Things will begin to smell just wonderful in your kitchen as you dispose of the apple peels and rinse the sticky counter - again!
You'll likely need to wash the floor, but that's fine - you have time.

Give your apple butter a good stir on this time schedule:
5 hours - can you see how much the apples have reduced already?
7 hours - turn down oven to 250 degrees
9 hours - beginning to get dark and rich!
10 hours - you are almost there - it's getting thick!
11 hours - stir with a whisk to smooth any lumps
12 hours - it's dark and rich and lovely!

At the 11 hour, prepare your canning jars - 14 pint sized jars should be enough, but boil up a few jelly jars too - just to have on hand for the last bit, or on purpose for gift giving if you like. Make sure to use all new lids - the rings can be reused if they are rust free and not dented. Use a separate pot to simmer the lids - this softens the rubber.

Do you have some canning tools on hand? They will make this job so much easier!
Fill hot sterilized jars to about 1/2" from top - I love my wide mouth canning funnel for this.
Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth. Place flat lid rubber side down and screw on the metal ring - just 'finger tight' - no need to force it.
When all of the jars are filled, place them in a deep pot, on a rack so they don't touch the bottom and fill the pot with boiling water to 2 " over the top of the jars. Boiling water process for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit for 10 minutes. Remove jars by lifting the jar straight up and placing gently on a towel lined counter. You'll likely need to repeat this boiling water bath for the remaining jars since you can usually only get 7-8 in a canner or large pot.

Let your jars sit for 12 hours and than check that the lid is on firmly - the top will be slightly indented. You can remove the rings if you like, wipe the jars, label and date - store in a cool dark place.

Enjoy this Simple Autumn Joy!

post signature

Nanny's 12 Hour Oven Apple Butter

6 cups of fresh pure apple cider, reduced to 1 cup

6 -8 cups of sugar - depends on tartness of apples

1 tablespoon of good cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1 bushel of apples - a variety is nice!

Cook in roasting pan in slow oven for 12 hours. Can. Makes 12 pints.


  1. I love apple butter -- That brought back memories of my greatgrandms -- thanks for sharing -- Much Love --

  2. I can only imagine how amazing your home must smell when you are preparing apple butter. :o) I have never had it before, it sounds so delicious!
    Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne

  3. Hi there'
    I have never heard of apple butter until I rad your post... I am not fond of cooking (gasp horror!)

    I was at a dinner party on Friday night (not a regular thing) and when the lady of the house who is a fab cook said she had been planning the menu etc for the past week I felt very guilty. I confessed I don't LOVE cooking but that it made me all the more appreciative to sit there and enjoy her fare.
    The other lady who was there was very kind and said that Aine was good at cooking, she was good as sculpture and I was good at home schooling... made me feel a lot better!!!


  4. Yummm! Apple butter sounds delicious!

    I need to apologize to you. I posted this morning without telling everyone about your wonderful tassel tutorial. I can be so forgetful sometimes!
    As soon as I remembered, I added an extra post just for you.

  5. That apple butter sounds delicious! Wish I had a big bushel of apples. I would make some today. Jackie

  6. Wow! Thanks for the tutorial. It's sounding a bit overwhelming just now, after spending a day doing applesauce. Maybe I will eventually attempt it one of these years.

    Made your tomato soup this evening and it was wonderful -- thanks!

    Also tasted Panera's Hazelnut Spread for the first time and thought of you. Isn't that the one you like? It really is good -- tastes like cheesecake. :)


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