Not Yo Mama’s Apple Butter

I have a funny story from last week. Well, maybe not funny haha, but funny in it’s own little way…

We were to be witnesses for some friend’s of ours as they signed the papers for buying a new house. There were no Realtors involved, so we would be the only one’s there besides the sellers and our friends. Also, we had to look after their little girl and our little boy who ran around the property for over an hour as the two parties bartered inside.

As we were wandering around the property though, we noticed a big apple tree bending under the weight of it’s unpicked fruit. Being the Karmic observer that I am, I told my husband not to touch. Well, we all know how that went…soon enough the kids were standing under the tree too, one saying “snack! snack!” the other (ours) grunting and pointing up.

My husband, apparently, was familiar with this type of apple, as he had a neighbour as a child who had a tree in their yard. I’m guessing little Mr. Guilty probably stole half of their fruit too. So, we picked a few fruits and then wandered around some more waiting and waiting and waiting for them to finish. Finally, when all the signing of documents was finished, the kindly Scottish couple who owned the house told us to pick all that we could reach. They didn’t like those apples anyway. And the race was on! We grabbed as many bags from our car as possible and picked every fruit from every low and medium hanging branch on that poor tree.

When we got home I realized something. We now had 20 lbs. of cooking apples and they were ready to be eaten now. What to do….there’s only so much apple pie/crumble/bread/cake/muffins, etc a person can consume. So I decided to push myself past any comfort zone I have ever known……Preserves. My mother used to can things when I was a child, but I never helped (much) and I don’t have a giant pressure cooker like she did.

I have never attempted to make anything that would store for more years than I’ve been alive, but what better time to try. I just hate to waste food. I really didn’t want to make applesauce though, blech…my son is too old for purées anyway and I’m just not a fan.

After scouring the internet for recipes for a really good apple butter and methods of preserving it, I came up empty handed. Nothing really struck my fancy. Every recipe called for enormous amounts of sugar or the use of apple juice or applesauce, none of which I had or cared to purchase for this recipe. I just wanted to reduce apples into delicious, smooth, rich, apple butter! So I had to come up with my own recipe, and here I will share it with you because, wow, it’s amazing (if I do say so myself). If you like a slightly tart, spice filled, aromatic, jam like spread for your morning  toast, than this is it!

Not Yo Mama’s Apple Butter

15 apples ( I used a tart cooking apple, like this)

Apples in the pot, ready for rendering

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Peel, core and cube apples. Place in larg,e heavy bottomed saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients to apples.
2. Set to medium high (around 8 on a regular stove) and get it boiling. Reduce to a simmer and allow to cook down for pretty much the whole day. I think I cooked mine for about 10 hours. You will know when you have the right consistency. It should be as thick as still hot porridge or oatmeal and stick to the spoon when lifted out of the pot.
3. Wash all your jars with hot, soapy water first. In another large pot, add jars and lids you will be using to store your apple butter (I used 4 large jars). Cover in water and bring to a boil, boil for 10 minutes to sterilize.
4. When your apple butter is finished, keep it at a low boil (it needs to be hot to put in the jars).
5. Remove your jars from the water one at a time and empty the water out of the jars (but leave the water in the pot, add more if needed and keep boiling) your jars should be hot enough to evaporate most of the remaining water inside them. Fill each jar to almost the top (about 1/4″ away from rim). Wipe any remaining apple butter away from the rim and screw lid on tight. Do this for all your jars.
6. Now put your jars back into the pot with at least an inch or so of water covering them and boil for another 5 minutes (more if you are above sea level).
7. Remove from water and set to cool overnight without jostling too much. In the morning check your seals. If they are depressed, congrats, you’ve just canned something! Yay! If they pop up and down, you have failed. I’m guessing you could try to do the whole process again, but I wouldn’t. Just take it as a lesson learned.

Serve with some delicious homemade English Muffins (recipe coming soon!)

Apple butter in action

We’ve been keeping an open jar of this stuff in the fridge now for the past week. It’s a big hit with my son and me too. Tart, full of spicy deliciousness and thick to boot. If you have any tips or tricks for me, feel free to leave a comment, I love feedback!

35 comments to Not Yo Mama’s Apple Butter

  • You have great instincts for this apple butter. The addition of the balsamic vinegar is a great and unusual idea, and I also love the added maple flavor. Very nice looking recipe. It even looks like the beginnings of a BBQ sauce!

    • admin

      Have I mentioned that I love you? Cause I really do…BBQ! I never would have thought! Now I’m going to have to make a pork roast with apple Butter BBQ sauce…Maybe I’ll give you some credit for it when I post the recipe…;)

  • Wow, I’ve never even thought of canning something before! Maybe I’ll just make a small batch and put it in a resealable container. I’m sure it’ll be gone before it goes bad! :)

  • AH I love those garden apples, they tend to have more flavor than the ones you get at the store. It reminds me of home. Great idea for a spread…you call it butter, but there is no butter in there, more like a compte or a jam? Looks creamy and beautiful deep ocre color…I can just smell them from here.

  • I wish I had some extra apples on hand, instead I have an overabundance of organic yogurt and mangos….
    BTW, the apple butter looks super delish! :D

  • Ben

    Oh that sounds perfect right now for breakfast. Beautiful blog and pictures :D

  • Wow, this is a great idea for all of the pears I have at home! I was thinking of making pear-sauce, but this would be MUCH better! (I already made jam)

  • I would have taken the Scottish couple up on their offer, and come home with as many apples as you did!!

    The apple butter looks fantastic. I recieved some homemade apple butter last week in the mail but its long gone. I can’t wait to try this!

  • Mr. Guilty

    This was great. My mom used to make this when i was young, so to have Mrs. Guilty whip this up unexpectedly it was a great memory trip for me :) Thanks again!!

  • I have been looking for a great apple butter recipe since I moved to Wenatchee a short time ago.
    This sounds divine!

    Thanks a bunch,

  • hi

    1/4 what of nutmeg?

  • Sounds fabulous! Can’t wait to try it. Love the addition of Balsamic and maple!

  • Looks fabulous! I’ve got some homegrown apples waiting to be made into this so we can have it over the winter. I wish those blasted kids hadn’t knocked the pears out of the tree, so I could try pear butter, but oh well. Hoping mine turns out as well as yours!

    • admin

      Ohhh this would be fabulous pear butter for sure. Those blasted kids, will they ever learn?? Mine eats all the blackberries before I can get to them…

  • Richard Thuillier

    Mmm….. Apple butter with any pork dish, it’s so goooood!
    And of course on your toast in the morning, I need more Apple Butter!

  • Nadia

    Hey quick question, as I can sometimes be a little to nit-picky with cooking (I’ll become more zen next year!) I don’t ahve white balsamic – think regular will be too intense and dark for this butter? Not that I need an excuse to buy a new condiment, but kiddo’s sleeping ATM and now is the perfect time to get this going!
    Thanks! I’ll facebook you in a min if you don’t catch this :-)

  • Nadia

    Finally got a chance to make this, and OMG. Simply OMG!! Sienna keeps coming up to me asking for “Bite!”

  • kathleen

    This recipe looks delicious! Do you keep a lid on the pot while the mixture is simmering, or uncovered? Also, how soon did you open a jar and how long does it last in the fridge (I’m fairly new to canning and want to be extra sure that I’m doing everything safely to avoid food poisoning). Thanks!

    • admin

      I keep the lid halfway on, kind of leaning on the spoon, which I leave in the apple butter. That way if it’s simmering, it doesn’t spray everywhere. Also, I’ve opened jars and it lasts for months as long as you always use clean spoons or knives. Just like any other preserve, it should last quite a while open in the fridge.

  • kathleen

    Just made this recipe. I used 16 medium-sized apples and after 7 hours of simmering I was worried there would be nothing left if I kept going, so I jarred it. The texture was more like jam than your photo – chunkier, thicker, stickier. It made only 3.5 cups total, and tasted pretty sweet when I tried it from the spatula after. Did you mean 15 pounds of apples instead of just 15 apples? Maybe next time I will double or triple the # of apples using same amount of sugar to make it less sweet. This would give me more apple butter in the end too so I can give jars as gifts. Thanks for the idea!

    • admin

      Hi Kathleen!

      No, I definitely meant 15 apples. I made about 5 smallish jars (350mL) the first time I made it. I used very tart cooking apples though and my butter turned out pretty tart. You could definitely reduce the sugar or use increase the apples though if you want to make more. The second time I made it, I used sweeter apples and I did find it a little sweet.
      The texture should be pretty thick though. Ours is like, well, butter. It is a little chunky and quite thick. But that’s the way apple butter should be in my opinion.
      I’ve had other people make it as well, with very good results, so I’m not sure what to tell you.

      Thanks for the feedback though!

  • Oh, yum. I made apple butter myself for the fist time a few weeks ago. I now wonder why I waited so long. I love the idea of the vinegar and maple syrup.
    .-= Cheryl Arkison´s last blog ..Taste Adventure – Coconut Jam and Pandan =-.

  • I am so printing this out to try it! It looks fantastic!!!
    Susan in the Boonies recently posted..Awesome Apple Pie Recipe and the Winner of the Pie Crust ShowdownMy Profile

  • marissa

    Wow that sounds awesome. I love white balsamic vinegar AND cardamon. This will make great holiday gifts. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley

    This is very good, I like that it’s not made with butter too. I did not want to can/jar any so I just made a third of the recipe and it only took about a third of the time to make till it went to the consistency you stated. Mine wasn’t as smooth but then again my cuts of apple were not even – it is still great though!

  • […] there was no way around it, I had to bake something. Sure, I could make most of it into my famous apple butter, which I will eventually, but I need something a little fancier. Something to bring out that fall […]

  • […] at this time of year, you will probably see recipes for preserves (I’ve even got one here for Apple Butter). They are an easy and delicious way to preserve fruits, especially if you’ve got a large […]

  • […] through these Okanagan peaches fast enough. I decided that this year, instead of another batch of apple butter to last us through the winter, this year would be something completely different. Using up the last […]

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