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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Perfect Gift for the Holidays - Apple Butter

Our little grandkids love apple butter!  Apple butter is one of those culinary delights that can be difficult to find in the grocery stores and if you do, it is likely filled with sugar, artificial flavours and colours or preservatives.  However, all natural apple butter can be found at farmer's markets as well as specialty food shops.  Apple butter is extremely easy to make!

apple butter
Essentially apple butter is cooked down applesauce.  I don't add any sugar or seasonings but many do.  I wash the apples and quarter then place the unpeeled pieces in a stock pot with just enough water in the bottom to prevent sticking.  I allow the apples to cook until soft, stirring often.  Once the apples are cooked, I run them through the Kitchen Aid food strainer attachment to remove the peels, seeds and core.  At this point depending on the apple used, the purée is thick enough to be canned as applesauce.  Sugar and seasonings (eg. cinnamon) can be added at this point also.  If they are added, the sauce is reheated and boiled down to the desired thickness.  Applesauce is home canned in a boiling water bath canner for 10 min at altitudes 1,000 feet above sea level.  At higher altitudes, the processing time is 15 minutes. 

Once the applesauce is made rather than leave as is, it can easily be made into apple butter or apple leather.  Both are excellent for gift giving!  To make apple butter, pour the prepared applesauce into a large Dutch oven.  Cover partially then let bake at 120°C/250°F, stirring occasionally until reduced by about half.  The butter with be thick with a nice caramelization and mounds on the spoon.  Once it has reached the desired thickness, the apple butter can be ladled into hot jars and processed in a boiling water bath canner as per applesauce. 

Our grandkids will be elated to find a jar of apple butter for each of them under Grandma and Papa's Christmas tree!  Shhh...we won't tell them about the other jars of apple butter stored safely in Grandma's pantry :)

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