Apple butter is a largely American preserve - Pinterest is full of recipes at this time of year. For me it's an ideal way to use up apples from our tree, we love it. Put simply it's a cross between a very soft jam and a thick apple sauce. Oddly apple butter is completely dairy free - the butter is a nod to how you use this preserve; spread thickly on toast, heaped onto drop scones, fluffy, American style pancakes or waffles or even dolloped generously onto porridge.
I last made apple butter when I was pregnant with Harry - I spent a weekend making apple butter, chutney and anything else I could use up the harvest from our two apple trees, giving them away to everyone that helped with the mammoth move into our then new home. The last couple of years have found me up to my eyes in a newborn, and then a toddler so apples have been given away. But this year I'm feeling a little more like I've found a balance between my role as Mama and a blogger so it felt like the right time to revisit my love of preserving. This recipe is ideal when trying to find a balance - once the apples are peeled, cored and chopped all you have to do is add them to the slow cooker and leave it on low for 12 hours. The smell of the cooking apples fills your house like an advert for autumn.
I prefer my apple butter to be on the tart side of things, and this kind of preserve is much more forgiving of an adjustment to the spicing or sweetness without impacting on the final product.
Dressed up sweetly, jars of apple butter make a lovely autumnal gift, or just a glorious addition to your fall breakfast table.
Slow cooker gingerbread spiced apple butter
Yield: 6 half pint jars
6lb cooking apples
1 cup date syrup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 and a half teaspoons ground cloves
1 and a half teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 pint of water
Peel, core and slice your apples - I borrowed this amazing gadget from a dear friend which made the whole process much quicker.
Put the apples into your slow cooker
Add the date syrup, lemon juice, spices and water
Put the lid on and leave on low for 12 hours, to start with stir every hour or so, to mix everything up. I did this every time I remembered so it's not something to set an alarm on your phone for.
Use a stick blender to puree the now thick, fragrant apple mixture
Take the lid off the slow cooker and leave on high for another hour to thicken up - you want the apple butter to be spreadable rather than pourable.
Sterilise some jars, I needed 6. I pop the jars into the oven on low for about 10 minutes, then add the hot apple butter before putting on the lids.
Then, if you're me, it's time for labelling and generally prettifying any you want to give away.
Apple butter doesn't keep like jams or jellies so you're looking at a month or so, kept in the fridge, once opened.
I'm adding this to Farmersgirl Kitchen and BakingQueen74 monthly Slow Cooked Challenge.
I'm also adding this to A Mummy Too's Recipe of the week link up