Grandma’s Apple Butter

What happened in August?

It’s like I took the month off. I pretty much did. No blog posts, no bullet journal, no counting calories, no working out, no anything I normally kept track of.

It was just an off month.

I gave myself a pass for the remainder of the summer. Alas Labor Day Weekend has come and gone. And so it is time to get back on track.

Does that sound familiar?

Yeah?

I fell off the wagon in July and attempted at getting back on. Notice I said attempted. It didn’t even last a week. It was then that I decided to take the rest of the summer off. Wow, did I take advantage of it. I ate like it was a free day every day.

Play time is over and it’s time to get back to business. Speaking of getting back to business, I have decided to try out something new this month. I’m going to try posting around a theme. Since it’s September, I thought I would make this month’s theme APPLES!!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one that I grew up with – Apple Butter. This stuff is the best! I’ve tried other Apple Butter’s and sure they’re good but they aren’t my Grandma’s. My Grandma is known for her Apple Butter. She even made batches and batches of it to be passed out as party favors for my cousins wedding.

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Last year I asked my Grandma to teach me how to make her famous Apple Butter. I want to make sure that someone can still make it for years to come. It was a great day that I will always treasure. However, it is going to be tricky recreating the Apple Butter on my own. You see my Grandma is old school. She didn’t have a recipe. At least not a complete one. She knew it was ready and there were enough spices in it when the color was right. When the color is right? This doesn’t exactly help me.

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Isn’t my Grandma the cutest?! Me, on the other hand, not so much. Look at my hair! lol

Back to the Apple Butter…I took the best notes I could with what I was given. Of course my first batch turned out great because Grandma was right by my side. The next time I make it, I want to try it on my own. I’m sure I’ll call her a time or two during the process though.

Ok, so the process is as follows:

Start with a peck of apples. This will be roughly 30 apples. Now I love a good Granny Smith but for Apple Butter my Grandma uses Johnathan apples.

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Peel and cut each apple in to slices. This is where Grandma started showing some of her “old school” talent. While I was using a peeler she used a knife to both peel and cut the apples.

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You would think that you would cover the apples with water but surprisingly you don’t. She said to add just enough until you can see it peek around the apples. It didn’t feel like enough for me but you gotta trust experience. My Grandma has made so many batches of this stuff she can probably make it in her sleep.

Look at all of the liquid the apples make.

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Simmer the apples for a few hours, maybe 2-3, until the apples soften. Take a potato masher and mash the apples until they are the consistency that you want. It will start to look like applesauce. In fact you can totally eat it as applesauce if you like. I did. It was yummy!

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At this point, measure how many cups of “applesauce” you have. You will have a lot. Take the number of cups of apples and half that to figure out how much sugar you will add. If you have 10 cups of apples, you will need 5 cups of sugar. 14 cups of apples, 7 cups of sugar. These are realistic numbers. I think I had 14 cups with mine. Yes, you are really going to use that much sugar. I never said that this was healthy. It is a jelly/jam you know!

Up to this point I feel I got this down. Sounds like it, right? After this is when it gets tricky and Grandma starts using her old school magic. It’s time to add the spices.

One thing she did measure is the apple cider vinegar. Well, I don’t know if she actually measures it. She may just eyeball it. But she did tell me a quantity – 1/4 cup! Honestly she told me a quantity for the next two ingredients as well. She later revised them. “Old School”

Add the 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon and 1 heaping teaspoon ground cloves.

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Stir together and let simmer some more. You’ll want to stir every 15 or so minutes for about another hour. This is also when she continued to add more cinnamon and cloves until it was the “right color”. Yeah.

This is where I’ll be having some apple butter (from last year) sitting on the counter so that I can compare the taste and color. Once I have a better idea as to how much was used, I’ll post an official recipe.

This is what it looks like when it’s ready. Yumm!

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Time to can! This was my first and so far only time canning. This batch will make around 7 or so pints of Apple Butter or 14 half pints. I went for half pints since I passed these babies out as Christmas gifts last year. I got 12 half pints out of it and enough to make 1 pint plus top off an open jar of Grandma’s Apple Butter I had in the fridge. =)

Make sure your jars are clean and dry.

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Then boil the lids for at least 1 minute. This will sterilize them for you.

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Fill each jar with the fabulous Apple Butter that you just slaved over the stove making and top with a dry lid. Make sure that the rim of the jar is clean after filling and before placing the lid on top. If there is any Apple Butter on the rim, the jar will not seal properly.

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Screw on the rim as tight as you can and line them up on your counter. You will hear each of them pop over the next hour or so. If they don’t pop then you haven’t sealed them properly. Once popped, they are good for many months to come.

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My first jar of Apple Butter. I was so proud!

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Feel free to try this the “old school” way and add the cinnamon and cloves until you like what you see. I really don’t think you can go wrong with this. It’s good stuff!

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