Just about any apple you can eat will work with this recipe. I had a bunch of random varieties (Honey Crisp, Macoun, Cortland, etc.) that I got from our local CSA, so I used a mixture. The plethora of apples I received this year was actually the main reason I decided to make this recipe. I just didn’t have room to store them all. Luckily, apple butter is delicious, easy to make, and uses LOTS of apples. It also makes your house smell amazing! So be cautious if you decide to let it cook overnight. You might wake up with the midnight munchies when that aroma starts to tickle your nostrils.
Apple butter has lots of uses. Spread it on a croissant. Spoon it over ice cream. Use as a filling for crêpes. Serve with pork chops. My absolute favorite way to eat it is simply to put it on hot, buttered toast. I love how the butter and apple butter combine…salty and sweet!
Because this recipe yields such a large amount (I got 9 cups using 5 1/2 pounds of apples), it’s great for sharing. Ladle into pint jars, label, and give to friends or tuck into a gift basket.
- 5 or 6 pounds of snacking apples, or enough to fill your slow cooker
- 2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Zest and juice from 1 small orange (I used a clementine)
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices.
- Core and quarter the apples. Do not peel them. The pectin in the skin helps to thicken the apple butter.
- Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker, or use a bit of cooking spray.
- Alternate layering the apples and sugar mixture in the slow cooker. Pour the orange juice and zest on top.
- Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
- Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender until smooth. Alternately, use a stick blender and purée the whole batch right in your slow cooker. (I can’t recommend one of those gadgets highly enough!)
- If you want the consistency of your apple butter a little thicker at this point, cook an additional 30 to 60 minutes in the slow cooker with the lid off. Keep an eye on it and give it a stir now and then to prevent scorching.
This apple butter can be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in the freezer for up to 3 months.