Friday, October 12, 2007

Preserving Autumn: Maple Apple Butter

Maple Apple Butter with Cinnamon on a Oatmeal Scone

We were married in an apple orchard, Danny and I. It was spring and the sun shone, the grass was tall and the apple blossoms were budding a light pink. I had always dreamt of getting married outside and Quebec's sprawling apple orchards provided the perfect backdrop when the time came.

We are fortunate enough to live close enough to that same orchard so we can visit it a few times a year. Usually we plan this around two seasons: in the spring when the blossoms are in full bridal splendor, and in the fall to gather the harvest.

This autumn we brought Noah, who picked apples for the first time. He was oblivious to the history of the orchard, but ran around happily with a partially eaten apple permanently clutched in his little hand. We gathered as many apples as out bag would hold and then sat to eat a few and enjoy the beautiful day.

This year I vowed to do something different with my apples other than pies and caramel apples-a personal favorite. Although I had stocked up on enough candy apple sticks to last me a lifetime (or at least the lifetime of my teeth) it was time to make some butter, just like my mother used to make for us kids. A normal Sunday morning in winter would become unexpectedly extraordinary when she opened a jar of apple butter to have with our homemade toast.
This recipe is a combination of about three different ones, yet turned out great. The majority of the work is passing the pulp through a sieve to get the tasty puree. It is well worth the work and we now have a shelf in our pantry stocked with this luscious spread to enjoy during the coming cold months.

Maple Apple Butter

4.5 lbs apples
1 cup cider or apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup maple syrup

Wash, quarter and remove both stem and blossom ends from apples.
Combine apples, apple cider and cinnamon sticks in large, deep stainless steel sauce pan. Simmer, covered, until apples are soft, about 25 minutes.

Remove cinnamon sticks and reserve. Crush apples with potato masher. Put mixture through sieve or strainer to remove peels and seeds. Measure out 6 cups of applesauce, set aside.
Measure maple syrup; set aside.

Return apple puree (and, if you want, cinnamon stick for a more potent cinnamon flavor) to a clean large stainless steel saucepan and stirring occasionally, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 30 minutes or until apple spread mounds on a spoon or desired thickness is reached.
Add maple syrup and cook gently another 30 minutes, stirring often.

Now at this point I chose to throw caution to the wind and abandon traditional canning directions in favor of a time-saving technique I got from a friend. It worked for me, so here's what I did.
Place 7- 250 ml mason jars in your dishwasher and run through a hot rinse cycle. Set screw bands aside and place lids of jars in a small pot. Bring to a low simmer. Have ready a sterilized ladle, tongs, funnel and a clean dish towel for moving jars.

When apple mixture has reached desired consistency, remove from heat. Working with one jar at a time, remove hot jar from dishwasher and using a funnel and a ladle, fill jars with apple butter. Remove a hot lid from the water with your tongs, place on the jar and screw on the screw band to finger tight.

Place on a clean towel on your counter and DO NOT TOUCH for 24 hours. (Tip: make sure you husband knows to stay the heck away from them too, or you’ll have issues like I did.) Repeat with remaining jars until apple butter is finished.

Jars will seal on their own. After 24 hours test for seal. Sealed lids curve downward and do not move when pressed. If any have not sealed, place in refrigerator for immediate use.


Anonymous said...


(And it was lots of fun too!)

As another note, you'd be surprised at how many popsicle sticks you can get for a buck at the dollar store...

test it comm said...

The Maple Apple Butter with Cinnamon sounds so good! I will have to try this. What kind of apple do you think are best for this?

Anonymous said...

That looks amazing - and what a basic recipe! I will have to try that next year with some apples from our tree - we had thousands upon thousands of them! Thanks for the recipe! You know what? I wish blogs had a 'taste' feature or in the very least a 'smell' feature. It looks absolutely devine - and so perfectly paired with the oatmael scone! I would DIE for one now with a cup of tea with milk. Mmm!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Aimée, I love these photos! And the maple apple butter looks so delicious, yummy!

Peter M said...

Any left for me? Yum!

Zaak said...

Dang it Aimée!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

A lovely story Amy. Spring would be a beautiful time of year to be married amongst the blossoms. Apple butter reminds me of home in Ontario and is up there with maple butter slathered on a warm scone or bagel.Heavenly!

winedeb said...

Aimee, you just brought back some really good memories for me. We had an apple tree in our back yard when I was growing up...just so many good times under and up in the tree when we were kids (many years ago!)
I can just smell the cinnamon cooking with your apples for your apple butter. Looks mouthwatering and such an easy recipe!

Aimée said...

Hi Danny Darling- I don't think you'll do it again, right?

Hi Kevin- I used Mac's but Cortland would be great,too.

Hi Mandy- Yep, file this recipe and you will be glad you did. It's pretty amazing on waffles.

Hi Patricia- Thanks! Welcome back!

Hi Peter- Welcome to UtHC. That was a pretty great looking turkey you had going on last week!

Hi Zaak- Maybe I can send you a jar. How's the mail service these days?

Hi Valli- This is a good combination of both butters. Not too sweet, not to tart.

Hi Winedeb- Thanks! Yes I was surprised at how simple it was. Hopefully it inspires other to make the same.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

What a great post! I love all the pics and the recipe for the maple apple butter sounds excellent. I've never even heard of it before so can only imagine how it tastes.

Belinda said...

What a gorgeous post, Aimée! Your Maple Apple Butter looks delicious, and your photos are just wonderful. Noah is adorable, with his little rosy cheeks to match the apples he is picking, and in the orchard where Mom and Dad were married...I love it! How perfect. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, totally wonderful flavor combination. I love the mental picture of your wedding in an apple orchard. Someday will you post a picture?

foodiemama said...

i just went apple picking this weekend so i am going to make this in a couple days! thanks!

UP said...

We did not make apple butter. However, this weekend my wife and two of our grown sons made apple dumplings. Ah the smell of pastry, apples and Cinnamon filled the whole house. I just love this time of the year. You open the garage door and the apples smell SO GOOD.

Thanks for sharing your apple butter.

Mandy said...

I have never tastes apple butter before, but yours looks so tempting. I can imagine how good it smells~

Sandy said...

Aimee, you are constantly amazing me! You are a mom to a toddler, expecting another little one, and yet find the time for making jam, tomatoes, pies and now apple butter.

It looks delicious and now your little guy will have the same memories you do with Sunday morning toast. MMmmmmmm.

Michelle said...

That looks, and sounds like it tastes incredible! I will have to maybe try it someday soon... :)

Aimée said...

Hi Amanda- I had fun with the photos and I guess it shows!

Hi Belinda- Well, we think Noah is pretty cute, but thanks for the confirmation!:)

Hi Lynn- Oh yes, sometime. It was a perfect day.

Hi Foodiemama- Good for you! I hope you enjoy it.

Hi Up- Wow, apple dumplings sound amazing!

Hi Mandy- It is similar to applesauce, just much more of a spread.

Hi Sandy- Well, I only work part-time, you know. Noah 'helps' out in the kitchen a lot,too.

Hi Michelle- You should go for it. The little jars make nice Christmas gifts.

kickpleat said...

i love apple butter and would love to make some too...only i've never canned before (have none of the equipment, dishwasher or counterspace!). could i just make half the recipe and put it in the fridge?

dina (Lucas' mom) said...

How long will this last once the jar is opened?

I love this post -- I think it's one of your best...

Aimée said...

Hi Kickpleat- You certainly could make a smaller recipe and keep it in the fridge. It should last several weeks.

Hi Dina- My jars are small so they don't last long around here! But my guess would be that an opened jar in the fridge would keep at least a month. Glad you liked the post!

Shayne said...

I love home made apple butter and this looks so good. thank you for the idea, I will have to try it.

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful child! And, the recipe looks beautiful, too

Anonymous said...

Hi , Its a question really .In your recipe you don't state to peel and core the fruit, so is it neccessary to peel and core or not ? Regards Violet

Aimée said...

Hi Anon-The recipe states: "Crush apples with potato masher. Put mixture through sieve or strainer to remove peels and seeds."
Nope, no peeling or coring required!

AB said...

I don't know what looks better, the apple butter or the scone!

Unknown said...

My mom and I were talking about her mom and how she use to can fruits. She was so busy playing with her brothers til she missed out on this valuable lesson. Her sisters who knew how have passed away. I can't wait to try your Maple Apple Butter recipe. Thanks alot!

Diane said...

Making this apple butter recipe today with applies I picked in upstate NY and fresh maple syrup from the same area! I make apple butter every year and I can't wait to try this one....I love anything maple! I am adding some nutmeg and just a touch of cloves for some spicey depth! Thanks so much for this recipe!

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