Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.
The Christmas season is one of my favorites. And during the holidays, nothing means more to me than a beautiful, handmade gift. Last year, I whipped up a batch of this crock-pot apple butter for my father. I canned it and put a few jars in a decorative basket for him, alongside fresh oranges and nuts. I tied it all up with red ribbon and a fresh sprig of rosemary from my garden. To me, it was as perfect as a Christmas gift gets—simple and inspired by nature. I love to incorporate the season’s bounty into my gift-giving.
Now, this apple butter does not have to be reserved for the Christmas season alone. While canned apple butter makes a wonderful gift, it is also a treat to savor at home with your own family. When apple season started a few months ago, I bought a nice bushel and made a couple batches for the freezer. I am a big fan of quick-and-easy freezer preservation methods, and apple butter freezes nicely. This weekend, head to your local farmer’s market or grocery, pick up a few apples, and try my crock-pot apple butter recipe. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Crock-Pot Apple Butter Recipe
5-6 lb. of apples
2-3 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup apple juice or cider
Dash of salt
- Add apple juice or cider to the base of your crock-pot.
- Place peeled, chopped apples on top of the liquid.
- Add desired amount of sugar. Less for a more healthful batch, more for a sweeter recipe. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to coat apples.
- Cook on low overnight.
- In the morning, give the apple mixture a good stir. It should be dark brown. You may find that a few apple chunks remain. I like my apple butter that way, but some folks prefer it with a smoother texture. Let it cook until it is the consistency you prefer.
- Remove the lid and cook for one more hour. This will remove any excess moisture.
- Ladle into freezer-safe containers or jars, leaving at least a ½ inch of headspace.
Of course, you will want to keep a jar of this tasty apple butter in the refrigerator for immediate enjoyment. My family likes it on hot buttered toast in the mornings with a cup of good coffee. It’s also nice at the dinner table with a homemade, crusty roll. Try this recipe, and let me know what you think. And maybe give a jar as a gift this Christmas—it will surely be well-received.