Fall in our house means one thing... Apple Butter!
My mother-in-law has been making apple butter for years. Grandma is known for her apple butter. She has learned over the years to even keep a supply in hiding so that there is enough to last throughout the year. About six years years ago, she shared the "secret" family recipe with me as well as sharing the technique of making apple butter. Come the first of September, my mother-in-law will start keeping her ears open to where we will be able to find apples. We do have an orchard nearby but we aren't always fortunate enough to get there in time or the crop hasn't been very good that year.
This year, however, apples were in abundance so we sat out early one morning to go picking...
I brought home a whole bushel...
With this many apples to peel, you have to have one of these...
Ever since the boys were very small they have been part of making the apple butter. They really do enjoy making it as much as eating it...
This was probably the juiciest bushel of apples we've ever had. The juice was going everywhere-the floor, the cabinets, the refrigerator and us! After we finished we all had a really nice shower.
Once the apples were all peeled, it was then time to chop and get them into the crock pot...
Let the cooking begin...
The secret to the recipe is the cooking time-12 hours! The next morning we woke up to the wonderful smell of apple butter.
I found a really great tip from Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers. Instead of using the water bath method to seal the jars, she suggested just turning the jars upside down to allow them to seal. I gave it a try and it really worked! Here is the canning method I used:
~ Place jars in a boiling pot of water for about 10 minutes. You can also run them through the rinse cycle of the dishwasher. Dry jars before use.
~Boil the canning lids and rings and keep them hot until ready to use.
~Fill the hot jars using a wide mouth funnel with jelly, preserves, jam, or apple butter.
~Make sure the rim of the jar is clean.
~Place hot lid onto the jar and screw ring onto jar tightly.
~Flip the jars upside down so the heat of the apple butter is in direct contact with the seal.
~Cool jars slightly, and then turn back to upright position.
~You will know if the jar is sealed when you push down on the lid and it doesn't pop back up. With a few of mine, I just had to push down on the lid and it sealed.
My pantry is now stocked with jars of apple butter and even a few jars of applesauce.
Of course with all this apple butter you have to have lots of biscuits!!!