|16 cups||Apple puree|
|1 cup||Apple cider|
|4 cups||Sugar; granulated|
|4 cups||Brown sugar|
This same recipe can be used to make apple, grape, peach, pear or plum butters. In general use 1 cup fruit pulp to ½ cup sugar.
Spice to taste and cook slowly. To make apple butter, use tart cooking apples, not the sweet eating varieties. If sweet apples are all you have to use, reduce the sugar by ⅓ to ½.
Wash, quarter and core the unpeeled fruit. Place in a heavy kettle with just enough water to prevent scorching. Cook until soft, stirring frequently, and press through a food mill. Mix ingredients in a heavy kettle and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until thick. When ready, a spoonful put on a plate should hold its shape and not 'weep' liquid around the edges of the mound after sitting for five minutes. This usually takes about two hours of cooking but can take as long as four, so plan this project for a day when you have other things to do in the kitchen. Don't try and hurry the process as the mixture can easily burn and burned apple butter is only good for the compost pile. Stir frequently, and if possible use a 'heat difuser' between the burner and the kettle.
Oven Method: Cook the fruit butter in a roasting pan in a 250 - 300 F. oven until thick; may take 6 to 8 hours. Stir occasionally.
It needs less stirring this way but uses take much more energy and can be awkward to stir.
Crockpot Method: Put ingredients in crockpot and cook, uncovered, for about 12 hours, stirring occasionally, until it passes the test given above.
When finished, pack into jars per standard canning methods and process pints 5 minutes or quarts 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Adapted from 12 Months Harvest, Ortho Books, by Linda Shogren
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