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.