This post was supposed to be up a week ago, but somehow life happened and the post didn’t. One day I’ll learn to schedule posts. Last weekend we popped over from Stockholm to Amsterdam where we had a few days of glorious weather and Paul went for a wee (26 mile) run. He had a great time and is now ranked 19th in Sweden for marathon! After the run we hit the town and put back some nice cold beers. Then some bakery treats. Then some beers. Then some bakery treats. Then some beers. Then . . . you get the picture. We ate. We drank. A lot. Amsterdam is such a pretty city and it was a nice little break. I was sitting in the sun beside a canal drinking an amazing beer when it occurred to me, I live in Europe! We just popped over to Amsterdam for the weekend! How awesome is that?! Where next?!
Back in Stockholm, back to reality, and oh dear do we ever need to detox. This apple butter is just the kind of thing I want to eat right now. It has three ingredients: apples, water, and time. No added sugar, no flavourings. Just plain old no frills apple goodness. I had a load of apples which I had foraged from an apple tree I found in a public space I walk by most days. I can’t believe I didn’t realize it was an apple tree sooner, but once I did I picked up all of the salvageable fallen fruit and picked anything I could reach off of the tree. I’d say I had 2 kilograms of apples once they were peeled and cored. The apples filled my biggest pot, which I believe is 12 liters, almost right to the top. I poured water in to not quite cover the apples, boiled then simmered and stirred. Once the apples had broken down into a nice apple sauce, I scooped out about a third of it and portioned the apple sauce into 1 cup portions, which I froze for future baking. The rest of the apples got a good long simmer – about 8 hours – until what was left was a deeply caramelized apple butter. It is so sweet and delicious, it makes me wonder why people bother adding sugar to apple sauce and apple butter at all. I end up with 6 cups of apple sauce and 2 cups of apple butter. The apple butter is amazing as a spread, and I’ve got some set aside for apple butter oat bars, which I plan to bake up this weekend.
No Frills Apple Butter Recipe:
Making apple sauce and apple butter at the same time is easy and time saving. This recipe isn’t hard at all, but you do need to be around to check on the apples and give them a stir every once in a while. If you have a slow cooker you could also use that for making apple butter, and your presence isn’t quite as essential throughout the simmering time. You can easily adjust the recipe to whatever amount of apples you happen to have, just watch that the water doesn’t quite come up to the top of the apples.
2 kilograms of peeled and cored apples (note – this weight does NOT include the peel and other waste)
Place apples in a large pot. Pour in water until you can just see it under the top layer of apples. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium – low, and simmer away, stirring occasionally as the apples begin to break down. Once the apples have reached apple sauce consistency if you want to reserve some apple sauce, do it now. Continuing to cook the apple butter, keep heat at medium-low to low. As the sauce begins to thicken into butter it will begin to blurp and splatter a bit; a lid left slightly ajar will help keep the splatter under control. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 7-8 hours. In the last hour you should see the apple butter becoming quite thick and turning dark caramel colour. Remove the lid entirely for the last hour – the butter should be reduced enough that splatter is not a problem at this point. Cook until the apple butter has reached the desired thickness, then cool.
Apple butter will last in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, or can be frozen, or canned.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2011