Friday, October 2, 2009

apple butter (fall bounty)

dear friends,

fall is a very glorious time of year. harvest time! i am enjoying it immensely on the west coast (except, of course, for the curious absence of fall foliage colours. the leaves just fall and die in victoria, there is no transition!) in any case, to celebrate the wonderful harvest bounty, i made apple butter. it is a good thing to do while getting other things done (like about 600 pages of catch-up law school readings) - only requires a stir once every 15 minutes or so. plus, it makes your whole house smell delicious for the 5 hours that it takes to finish.

i used about 15 spartan apples with a couple of other kinds mixed in. if you have a bigger, wide-mouthed pot than i do, you can use as many apples as you have! peel if you want (i didn't. i hate peeling fruits for jams/butters. the skins give it a nice pink tinge, and also are full of vitamins and minerals that you would otherwise be throwing out just to get a texture that is a bit smoother. boo!) chop them up into a reasonable size, removing the cores. put them into a big pot and cook on medium heat with a little bit of water added here and there until they are soft enough to be mushed with a spoon. at this point, use an immersion blender if you've got one to puree into apple sauce. if you don't have one, you could always use a regular blender... or if you are like me and have a serious aversion to pouring hot liquidy things into receptacles, just keep cooking the sauce down until its soft enough that you can mash it all up.

after you have the apple sauce, it will take a couple of hours (maybe even 5) until it is spreadable, giving it a nice stir every 15 minutes. add some spices while it is cooking dowm (i used a bunch of cinnamon and a bit of cardamom, but i would have used ground cloves if i had them!) and sweetener to taste. i used brown sugar which was delicious, but you could also use honey, maple syrup, or regular old sugar. in the last 5 minutes, add the juice of one lemon.

once you're done, either eat everything you have made right away with friends and lovers. alternatively, can it for the winter! pour the hot butter into clean jars (sterilize jars in pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. it is preferable to use new lids), being sure not to leave any air bubbles. bang the jar on the counter to remove any, or slide a knife along the edges. put your lid on, then boil the jars again in a large pot for 15 minutes. i learned a neat trick from a fellow internet canning enthusiast. to test the seal of your jars once you are done boiling them, remove the ring of the lid and lift the jar by the rim. if it stays on tight, you are good to go!


love, beeks