Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Apple Butter

Apple Butter [photo]

Um. Would you mind helping out a confused blogger? Okay, I need you to assess the situation and confirm a few things for me:

a) What year is it? and
b) Where am I?


Because up until Sunday I was fairly certain about both my whereabouts and the approximate date, but since then things have become slightly blurry. Don't tell anyone, but I think that I might have somehow landed up in colonial America. Oh you need evidence? 

Well, first and foremost, there's this canning business. Yes sirree (see I'm even talking like them!), I made my own apple butter from scratch on Sunday and canned it's ass. Can you taste the homespun all-American goodness? Of course I presume those down-to-earth colonial folk didn't have it spread thickly on store bought croissants. Or blog about it.

And they certainly weren't au fait with the Daring Kitchen. Well, I suppose there might've been some version of it. Maybe an informal one uppance on Mary-Sue from the next door farm back in the day? Sans all this new-fangled blogging shenanigans of course.
Apple Butter [photo]

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Food preservation definitely didn't form part of my food framework. Not in the least. Sure I'd frozen a couple of things before, but this canning business? Whoo boy. But I couldn't chicken out (that pesky pride thing), so after having read the technique (which seemed pretty straightforward) I started making apple butter for canning.

I was super excited about the actual product - apple butter being something I'd always read about, but never tasted and it sounded fantastic. Best part? The real thing lives up to it's reputation. As for the canning bit, well it was a good learning experience. Which was good. However wondering about whether I had sealed the jars properly was decidedly less awesome. Potentially disastrous in fact.

*Sigh* Maybe next time. Of course, the sealing issue is a bit of moot point actually, since we've polished almost half of the apple butter already. I somehow don't think spoiling is going to be an issue here...

Apple Butter [photo]

Apple Butter
Adapted from National Center for Home Food Preservation
Makes 2 small jars

Apple butter can be used as a spread on warm toast, croissants or whatever tickles your fancy. It would also be delicious in a sauce to serve with pork chops.

6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
pinch of ground cloves

1. Cut apple into bite-sized pieces and add to a small saucepan. Pour water in, then cook over medium heat, covered until soft. This should take about 10 - 15 minutes.
2. Drain any remaining liquid and press apples through a sieve to form a smooth puree. Alternatively use a potato masher or food blender. Transfer apple puree back to saucepan and add sugar and spices. Stir to combine, then cook another 20 - 25 minutes over medium heat, uncovered, or until thickened. The finished apple butter should have a much firmer texture than the apple puree.
3. Spoon apple butter into glass jars for canning (alternatively use recycled jam jars). The apple butter should come up to just below the rim of the jar, leave about half a centimetre (quarter inch) of space at the top. Using a blunt  knife, press the blade vertically into the side of the jar, moving up and down and around the entire perimeter of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Screw lids on.
4. Find a pot large enough to fit the jars of apple butter into - if you place the jars in the pot there should be about 5 cm (2 inch) space above the lids. Fold a kitchen towel in half or quarters (depending on the size of your pot) and lay in the base of your pot. Place jars on top of the towel.
5. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the jars - you will need to have at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water covering the lids. Place over high heat to bring to boiling point again, then lower heat and allow to simmer for between 15 and 25 minutes depending on your altitude* above sea level. 
6. Remove pot from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before removing jars - be careful as they will still be very hot at this stage. Place onto a dry tea towel (this reduces the risk of thermal shock) and allow to cool down completely. You should hear a plop from the lids which indicates it has sealed properly.

If you are unsure of whether the jars have sealed properly, I would recommend refrigerating (for short term use) or freezing if you intend to keep it for a while, just to be on the safe side. 



*15 minutes for altitude of 0 ft (0 m) to 1,000 ft (300 m)
20 minutes for altitude of 1,001 ft (301 m) to 6,000 ft (1,830 m)
25 minutes altitudes above 6,000 ft (1,831 m)

The apple butter can be stored in a cool dark place for up to a year. Always check for mold or other signs of spoiling before you eat it though, and if in doubt, discard the whole jar.

32 comments:

Joanne on September 14, 2010 2:14 am said...

Canning and preserving haven't really been within the realm of my expertise either but I'm so proud of you for giving it a go! I would be so worried about spoilage as well...but if you need anyone to send a jar too. you know. Just in case. I'm your gal.

Marisa on September 14, 2010 6:41 am said...

Joanne - I might take you up on that offer next time! :-)

tandysinclair.com on September 14, 2010 9:39 am said...

I love making and 'canning' my own products. I have this awesome little rubber disc that helps me make sure the lids are sealed properly.

Sweet Artichoke on September 14, 2010 11:53 am said...

I had never heard of apple butter, and have a limited experience with canning (dried tomatoes, recently, that's all...)had no idea that the altitude would have influence on the boiling time! I am glad to have learnt something!!
Your recipe looks delicious and the pictures are really gorgeous!

Jenni on September 14, 2010 1:10 pm said...

Great job! Your apple butter looks great! I've always been leery of home canned stuff, too - that seal is so tricky!!

Lauren on September 14, 2010 1:46 pm said...

Your pictures look amazing, I have to admit at while I took part I went for the "safer" option of freezing rather than canning my apple butter.

Mindy on September 14, 2010 2:56 pm said...

Great job on the apple butter and beautiful photos! I've been slathering mine on anything I can find, and you've just inspired me to buy some croissants.

outoftheoven on September 14, 2010 4:47 pm said...

I totally admire you taking on the canning; I was still chicken! Your results look fantastic and are beautifully presented. Great job!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz on September 14, 2010 7:47 pm said...

I think that is so cool your first taste of apple butter is from your own kitchen. Great pics!

Eliana on September 14, 2010 8:05 pm said...

I have never made apple butter at home and given how great this one looks, I wasnt to try it ASAP. Love the deep caramel color. Looks super delish :)

Koci on September 14, 2010 8:34 pm said...

hahaha I love the idea of ye olde colonial folk trying to figure out a blog! Your apple butter would definitely make them green with envy. :D

Juanita on September 14, 2010 10:06 pm said...

I freak (probably irrationally) at the idea of botulism and so avoid doing the 'preserves' thing. We would also probably end up consuming most of it within days more for our psychological than our physical well-being :-)

But you know, I've just recalled that when we had our lecture/practical day for preserves/canning at Prue Leiths, we ended each pickled jar/jam with a small ring of baking paper soaked in brandy to discourage bacterial growth which sat on top of the preserve before the jar was sealed. I think it worked, as no one got sick from those preserves months later when they were served up on staff meals (trust them to test it on us students regardless of the fact we were spending tens of thousands to study at that blasted chef's school).

Well done to you on your apple butter - it's charmingly Amish indeed! ;-D

chef_d on September 15, 2010 5:05 am said...

Your apple butter looks delicious slathered the croissant, great job!

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Like those ones on the Consol jars? Yes I should've used that, but as usual I left things to the last minute, i.e a Sunday evening. Will definitely get some proper jars if I attempt canning again.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Aaaw you always have my back! ;-)

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Also had no idea about the effect of altitude - luckily the instructions on the Daring Cook's website were very detailed!

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

You're right, it's a bit tricky to do it properly. Thank goodness I made a small batch.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Thanks Lauren! Yeah, better safe than sorry.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

You won't regret that decision - it's delicious on croissants. TheHusband and I were very happy campers yesterday morning when we had that combo for breakfast.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Thanks so much! Was a great learning experience for me.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Thank you. Really enjoyed my first taste of apple butter and it definitely won't be my last.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

The colour is pretty right? The smell is even better. Make some now - it's super easy!

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Hehehehe, they wouldn't have know what hit them!

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

What a great idea re the brandy soaked baking paper. Will remember that if I foray into canning again.

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Thanks Chef D!

Marisa on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Testing

Faith on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

I absolutely love apple butter and this looks fantastic! I love how you served it in a croissant!

Barbara Bakes said...

Now I'm wishing I'd made the apple butter. It looks luscious in your beautiful jar.

Karen on September 18, 2010 8:58 am said...

Yum! I love apple butter but have never made my own. I think it's time to try canning myself.

Alberta said...

I love homemade jams! I'm gonna try making some myself very soon! :D

Lori on September 19, 2010 4:22 am said...

Your apple butter looks great! I just started canning this year and it has been a true learning experience. I haven't made apple butter yet, but I hope to before apple season passes here.

ann said...

Yum, I need to try this, all our school campuses are morphing into peanut free zones. Not that my daughter eats peanut butter, regardless. I'd love to try this at home ina s mall quantity to test it out on her, because the stores here conveniently sell them in 1 GALLON jars.

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