An abundance of apples in the fall is always a fun problem to have. This year I made apple butter and apple sauce with our extra apples. Using a crock pot, both of these recipes are easy and as an added bonus, make your house smell heavenly!
To start, I will clarify what Apple Butter is. Wikipedia describes it this way:
"Apple butter is a highly concentrated form of applesauce, produced by long, slow cooking of apples with cider or water to a point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. The concentration of sugar gives apple butter a much longer shelf life as a preserve than applesauce. Apple butter was a popular way of using apples in colonial America, and well into the 19th century. There is no dairy butter involved in the product; the term butter refers only to the thick, soft consistency, and apple butter's use as a spread for breads. Typically seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and other spices, apple butter may be spread on buttered toast, used as a side dish, an ingredient in baked goods, or as a condiment. Apple Butter has also been known to be mixed with vinegar while cooking to provide a small amount of tartness to the usually sweet apple butter."
Here is how you can make it using a crock pot:
Cut, peel and slice enough apples to fill your crock pot to the top. For the number of apples needed for these recipes I highly recommend using an apple corer, peeler, slicer to speed up and simplify the process. In my former days I was a Pampered Chef Director so i have the added blessing of kitchen tools that are useful and well made. This particular product is WELL worth the money in my opinion if you intend to cook with apples on more than one occasion. Cutting your apples this way is also really fun for the kids. The apples are spiral sliced and end up looking like a slinky. The peel is reminiscent of a long, skinny "snake" and is suddenly fun to eat. I take the unused peels and toss them in a sauce pan with some water and cinnamon and heat it up on the stove top for homemade potpourri.
Add 1/2 c of vinegar to the apples, cover and cook on high for 8 hours (enjoy the aroma of cooking apples all day long or do it before bed at night and be ready for the next step in the morning). You will notice that the volume is much less — the apples cook down a lot!
Stir your apples and set your crock pot to low and cook for another 10 hours (for a total of 18 hours cooking time)!
Add 1 c. white sugar, 1 c. brown sugar, 3 tsp. cinnamon and a pinch of cloves, stir and allow to cook on low for another 4 hours.
Allow to cool and add to jars and refrigerate. You may also can them at this stage for shelf storage.
To make homemade apple sauce simply do step one above and add 1/2- 1 cup of water and allow to cook until the apples have reached the desired consistency. Add cinnamon to taste (I don't add extra sugar but you can also add that to taste if desired).