Oven Apple Butter

apple butter  Thinking of Pumpkin bread, made me think of fall and that started me thinking of making apple butter.  I try to make this every fall.  Apple butter is one of my mother’s favorites and has now become my staff’s favorite.  For years, I spent all day cooking a batch of apple butter and then pouring it into jars and processing it in the water bath.  At the end of the day, my back and feet hurt, I was exhausted and hot from standing over the pot, stirring. I had to come up with a better way.  Apple butter takes a long time to cook down and you have to take your time with it or it just doesn’t turn out right.  At first I though of a crock pot, but that doesn’t yield enough. So I started playing with cooking it in the oven.  Left me plenty of time in between stirring and I could do other things while it was cooking.  After numerous attempts, I found a method of cooking it in the oven and the right amount of ingredients so that the final products was exactly like my “top of the stove” apple butter.  If you don’t want to make a large batch, just cut the ingredients in half and use a smaller roasting pan.

4 quarts of water

4 tablespoons salt

12 lbs. apples, cored, peeled and sliced (I use a combination of tart and sweet apples)

4 quarts of sweet cider

8 cups sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp allspice

Combine water and salt.  Add apples.  Allow to sit for a few minutes, then drain, but do not rinse. Finely chop apples in food processor.  In a large enameled roaster, put apples and juice and cider.  Place in a 350 degree oven.  Let mixture cook about 3 to 3 1/2 hours until cooked down about half, stirring every half hour.  Mixture will be thick and mushy.  Put through food mill.  Should be about 4 – 4 1/2 quarts.  Pour back into  and add sugar and spices.  Stir well and return to oven.  Cook about 1 1/2 hours or until really thick, stirring every half hour.  To test, pour a small amount onto a cold plate, if no liquid oozes around the sides, it is done.  Pour into hot jars and wipe tops.  Put on lids and bands.  Process in water bath for about 10 minutes.  Makes about 16 pints.


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