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?
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.
Enjoy this Simple Autumn Joy!
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.