When I was growing up, my Great Aunt Barbara in South Georgia would occasionally send my family jars of homemade jam, jelly, and apple butter. These little jars of sweets were always a warm reminder of far away family, as well as the tastes, smells, and kindnesses of Aunt B’s home.
As an adult, I eventually had her write down a few recipes for me, including the apple butter. I make it yearly now, and we enjoy it liberally on Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes, or toast and such. At some point years ago, I realized I preferred not to use tons of sugar in my preserves, so I reduce the sugar here from her original 6 cups to 2 1/2 cups.
(Yield: 5 pints)
- 5 pounds of apples (weight before cleaning)
- 3 cups of water
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 box low sugar pectin; OR, 6 teaspoons Pomona Pectin and 6 tsp. calcium water
- Peel, core, and slice the apples and place them in a large pot or dutch oven. Pour in 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 20 – 25 mins. or until tender. Stir occasionally. (I’ve also used a pressure cooker for this step which brings the cooking time down to about 10 mins.)
- While apples are cooking, prep your canning jars, lids, and rings according to manufacturer’s instructions. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
- Mash the fruit with a potato masher until it looks like thick apple sauce. (If you prefer a smoother texture, you could put the apple mush through a food processor or blender.)
- Stir in sugars and spices and pectin and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Pour mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving a quarter inch of head space. Place lids and rings on jars and lower into the pot of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the lids and boil jars for about 5 mins. Remove from the water and let cool on a rack.