Category Archives: Preserving

Like Magic

Yesterday I had a crock pot full of apple pieces mixed with sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and a pinch of salt. And it all looked like this.

I put it on high for a bit right before bed just to get it kinda going, gave it a good stir or two, and then as we headed off for a much needed night of sleep I backed it off on low to let it do its thing. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t turn out – that I’d end up with more applesauce than apple butter.

But, you guys, it’s totally like magic! It worked! And holy hell is it a delicious thing to smell waking up first thing in the morning (aside from fresh coffee – that’s pretty much always first in my book).

Its hard to capture the right coloring of it – we have a southwest facing kitchen that has great lighting in the evening, but absolute crap lighting in the morning. But look at that delicious brown color!  Its a little chunky, not that smooth stuff you get at the store. I don’t know if I want to leave it like that or if I want to try to blend it down and smooth it out. Personally, I don’t mind chunks of apples – I’ve always been a chunky applesauce kind of girl so why not have some chunks of apples in my butter, too?

I’ve got a few jars in the canner heating up this morning – we’ll see how many jars I get out of this batch. I’m thinking only 1 or 2 half pints since they cooked down so much. So I’m definitely doing another batch overnight tonight

Crock Pot Apple Butter

  • Apples – peeled, cored, and sliced – enough to fill your crock pot up
  • 1-1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Throw all your apples in the crock pot, add the rest of the ingredients and give a little stir. Put the crock pot on high for an hour or so to get it going, and then throw it on low and let it sit overnight while you sleep. When you wake up you should have a delicious brown butter. Fire up your canner and get your jars and lids ready and then pour into the jars and water bath can as usual.

I ended up with 3 jelly/half pint jars and 1 full pint jar (ran out of half pint jars). You may end up with more or less, depending on the size of your crock pot.

If you’re new to canning or have never canned, I recommend you check out the Ball Intro to Canning PDF and don’t let yourself be too intimidated by it! It took me a lot of courage to do my first batch of jelly a few years ago – even with helping my mom make jam when I was a kid and having a general understanding of the process – but once I got through that first batch and heard the little “tinks” of the jar lids setting I got over it and have been canning easily ever since!

In other news, I checked my apple-ginger jam this morning and… nope, not jam. More like a sauce. Multiple reasons why I failed here, all of my own fault for just kind of winging it. And not reading all the directions. The jars all sealed, however, so I at least didn’t fail at that. Oh well, I bet that shit will be delicious all the same over some ice cream with some warm caramel poured on top!

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Hidey ho, neighbor!

Today the husband and I went with some friends to pick apples. Delicious, locally grown apples! A 1/2 bushel of them, to be exact. To be honest, I had no idea how many apples you got in a 1/2 bushel. I very nearly bought a full bushel, and I still might go back Monday for more. See, our garden pretty much failed this year. The whole thing was just a friggin disaster – zero tomatoes, a small handful of peppers and eggplant, and I only ended up with a few pints of canned pickles. So our pantry is pretty lacking in home grown/canned goodness, and I was determined to at least stock up on some apples to can and eat this winter since I failed in everything else.

I did my best to avoid procrastination (which I promise you all I’m really, really bad about – one of the many reasons why the urban homestead has been nicknamed “Fail Better Farm”), so as soon as we got home I set to peeling and cutting apples up. We don’t have an apple peeler, nor do we have one of those apple slicing tools to cut them into chunks. I just used a good old fashioned knife and hand peeler. Wasn’t too bad, honestly, especially since I was doing it all on my own.

I stopped canning around 7:30 or 8pm for the night, and all I ended up with was 4.5 pints of applesauce, 5 half pints and a nearly full quart of apple-ginger jam (which I don’t think really “jammed” but that’s okay because it’ll be delicious on top of some ice cream! Also, the recipe said it made 6 pints and I pretty much had a “Screw this, I know better than the recipe” moment – as I’m prone to do – and only put 5 half pints in the canner because I couldn’t understand why the recipe would come in full pint form when all the other jam recipes I’ve made call for half pints… Know-it-all girl thinks she knows it all, ya’ll!), and a crock pot going for apple butter.

I still have half of my 5 gallon bucket full of apples for tomorrow, though I’m not sure yet what I want to do with them. I can’t decide. More applesauce? More apple butter? Or do I freeze some? Or dry apple rings in the oven? Or make apple baked goods – like apple bread, or that apple cake recipe I saw the other day? But then… can you freeze that to eat later? Because if I have to eat it within a few days of baking that isn’t going to be good for my waist line. And it defeats the purpose of wanting to have things to eat later in the winter and the whole “preserving” thing.

So many choices!