Yes, friends, I am making two different versions of apple butter this year.
nince eight dozen apples. On top of the previous heap of apples I got from another friend.
This is, I hasten to point out, a feature not a bug.
Apple butter – like a lot of fruit butters (maybe even more-so than most) – works well in savoury dishes as well as sweet (e.g.: as a rub for a pork roast, as a binder for turkey stuffing, as a spread for grilled cheese sandwiches, or as an alternative to cranberry sauce on baked winter squash), so there are a LOT of options beyond “spread on toast” even before you start incorporating it into baked goods (coffee cakes lend themselves well to this, as do muffins, and – my favourite – pancakes, if you’re looking for an extra-velvety texture) in place of some/all of the sugar and some/all of the eggs.
Also, seriously? One does not turn one’s nose up at FREE organic, locally-grown produce. Seriously. O.O
So, in the interests of making this noticeably different (but still appropriately sweet), I’ve opted to include (a) dried ground cherries, and (b) dried black currants (!!!) in this batch of fruit butter, and have chosen to spice it with a mix of ginger, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. (Not a *lot* of the latter, but enough that there should be a spicy-hot aspect to it once everything has cooked down a ways).
I’m making apple pie, studded with (dried) black currants tonight, as well, but the recipe I’m posting is for the apple butter.
Black Currant Cayenne Apple Butter
3 dozen apples, corred and purreed in a food processor (one dozen each: spartan, granny smith, and ida red… I think)
1 C sugar
1/3 C dried black currants
1/4 C dried ground cherries
1/4 C each: red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar
2 tsp each: ginger, nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
Purree the apples and dried fruit in a food processor (this lets you fit three dozen apples into one 3L slow-cooker – it’s not a requirement, but it saves time in the short AND long terms)
Combine purreed fruit mixture, vinegars, spices, sugar, and salt in your slow-cooker (or in a large pot on the stove — but these are slow-cooker directions that let you ignore the “cooking” part while it’s going on)
Turn the slow-cooker on to “high” and walk away
Return every hour or so to give the mixture a quick stir (prevents things from scortching to the bottom/sides, but is not strictly necessary) and to see how much the mixture has reduced.
When the mixture is the consistency that you like (significantly thicker than apple sauce, but not so thick that it’ll be concrete once it’s cooled down – you want it a little bit sloopy yet), sterilize your jars (I tend to use one-cup jars for this, but half-cup jars will work, too) along with their lids and rings
NOTE: This is a good time to hit your apple butter with an imersion blender, as it will give you an even smoother finished product – which is lovely on its own, but really great for stirring into baked goods or sauces. I do this with mine.
Scoop the apple butter into the sterilized jars with the help of a ladle and wide-mouthed funnel.
Cap the jars and process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes
Set on a wire rack to cool. Listen for the “plunk” that tells you they’ve sealed. (If they haven’t sealed, just chuck them in fridge and use them up in a few weeks. They’ll be fine as long as they stay cold).
And there you have it.
Apple Butter Version Two, this time with black currants and (a little bit of) cayenne.
Now to (a) eat pickles, and (b) make apple-black-currant pie. 🙂
I love my life. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 Turns out my nine-dozen estimate was off by a bit. Woops. Oh, well. Still. That’s a lot of apples!
 This is a serious favourite of mine, btw. Apple butter on one slice of bread, a little bit of marmite or mustard (or both! :-D) on the other, and cheddar – evne cheap cheddar – in the middle. It’s an astonishingly amazing and (dare I say) complex combination of flavours that I highly recommend.
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