I did it! I made my own apple butter! It wasn't difficult, and the result tastes really good! My main reason for making it was to be able to share it with my dad, who LOVES the stuff. He's getting like half the batch - which should last him a couple months :-)
I was going to attempt to re-write the recipe I used, and give detailed instructions on canning, but I'm afraid I will miss some details or not explain them well, and it's really not the kind of thing you should cook by just reading a one page recipe anyway. I think if you are going to can something like this you should have a book to refer to in case you have a question or something doesn't seem to be going just as planned. You need to follow the directions to the letter to be sure that your product is safe. I borrowed my friend Amy's canning supplies and the book she uses. I really liked the book, it's called "The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food" by Janet Chadwick. It tells you everything you need to know about canning, freezing, and drying food. I'm going to get my own copy, along with my own canning supplies, because this was fun. I also like this website. It has a ton of info on canning, along with stuff about local produce in general.
So instead of typing the recipe exactly, here are some pictures and brief explanations of what I did. In case you noticed, you're right, this is not my kitchen. I ended up house-sitting for a friend on short notice, so I made the apple butter in her kitchen.
First, I went to the Farmer's Market and bought about 12 pounds of apples (I was making a double batch). I was looking for tart apples, such as Liberty, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Jonathan. I bought a few pounds from about four different farms so I had a good variety.
|About half of the apples I bought.|
They cooked down considerably.
I then ran the cooked apples through a food mill in batches. My awesome mother-in-law was kind enough to mail me her food mill so I wouldn't have to buy one (needless to say, when I return it to her, she's getting a jar of apple butter to go with it!). The food mill helps to separate out the peels and seeds, so you are left with, basically, apple sauce. I blended it a little more with an immersion blender to get it a little smoother.
I spread the mixture out into a shallow baking dish and put it in a 200 F oven and let it cook for 8 hours, stirring every hour or so. Then I added a little ground cinnamon and cloves (no sugar at all!).
About an hour before I was ready to fill the jars, I filled the waterbath canner and turned the heat up to bring it to a boil (it took a LONG time). I got the lids gently simmering in a pot of water, and I had another pot of water barely boiling in case I needed to add more to the waterbath at any point. I cleaned the jars in the dishwasher so they would be clean and hot when I was ready.
I filled the jars, wiped the rims with a clean damp cloth, and put on the lid and screw band. Then I loaded the jars into the rack in the water bath and lowered them to the bottom. I had to wait awhile for the water to come back to a boil, but then I just had to boil them for 5 minutes and then I took them out and let them cool for 24 hours on the counter.
|Jars loaded, ready to be lowered.|
|Jars lowered, waiting for water to return to a boil.|
|The jars had a fine white powder on the outside, I think it was residue from the metal rack. It wiped right off.|