Introduction: How to Make Apple Butter

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (; now thinking about climate c…

When I came home for the holidays, I found a few bags of apples sitting in the garage- sweet, homegrown apples in more quantity than my parents know what to do with. So I decided to make apple butter.

I'd never made apple butter before, but based on cursory internet research, it seemed to be just spiced, caramelized applesauce.
Which, I can now tell you, it is. I made it and it turned out great: melt-on-your tongue spiced apple!

My recipe took twelve hours of crock pot time and was very easy.

Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment

Apples! Lots of them. Fill up your crock pot! (These should be sweet apples; or otherwise you'll have to add sugar later.)
Crock pot
Wooden spoon
Spices- I used ginger, cinnamon, and clove
Brown sugar, if you want to sweeten it

Step 2: Prepare Apples

Wash them core them, slice them.
You don't have to cut them any smaller than slices; they'll cook down.
(Cut them smaller if you're in a hurry; they'll cook faster.)

If you want, peel the apples.
I didn't, and I haven't found the skins to be obnoxious; rather, it adds texture.
However, if you want to take the time, go ahead and peel the skins off.

Step 3: Put It in the Crock Pot

Put all of the cut up apples in the crock pot.
Add a little bit of water. This is just to keep the apples from sticking to the bottom; we'll try to evaporate it out later.

Cover crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally (once an hour or so).

Step 4: Season and Cook

At the end of three hours, your apples should look something like the picture- they're starting to disintegrate.
Feel free to help them along with the wooden spoon.

You can also add spices at this juncture. I used lots of ginger, a fair amount of cinnamon, and some clove.
It's to taste; add whatever spices you want. You can also add sugar if you want a sweeter, more caramel-gooey apple butter.

Turn your crock pot down to Low and keep cooking, stirring intermittently, until you have first applesauce (lighter colored disintegrated apples) then apple butter (darker colored from caramelization).

Step 5: Reduce

Once you have a satisfactorily caramelized apple butter, you could be done!
If you want to condense it so that it's thicker, you could leave it on for a few more hours without the lid until enough of the water has evaporated.

Step 6: Eat!

The serving suggestion pictured here:
Apple butter spread on buttered multigrain toast, topped with honey Greek yogurt and nutmeg. The plate is drizzled with organic molasses.

You should also try apple butter on vanilla ice cream.

If you made a lot, apple butter is traditionally preserved in jars.
In case you get sick of eating it, apple butter makes a nice gift for friends and family!