Thursday, December 1, 2011

Apple Butter

In this day and age with its modern store-bought conveniences, there are a few sacred items whose homemade taste can never be mass-produced.  My Granny Ruby's Apple Butter is one of them.  I am a firm believer that one's pantry or refrigerator should, at all times, be in possession of something that didn't come from the grocery store shelf.  A few weeks ago, in the thick of apple harvest, my favorite orchard was offering up apple seconds for $20 a bushel.  Score.  Now, if you don't know exactly how many apples that translates into, here they are in all their hand cramping, blister producing glory.  That's right, folks.  Apple peeling is not for wimps.

That is some serious potential sitting there, so I asked myself (as we all should from time to time), "What would Granny do?"  This question produces some practical and often sound results.  Go ahead.  Give it a try.  Apple butter was today's answer, so I picked up the phone and gave the marvelous woman a call.  

This is an old recipe, so there were a few techniques lost in translation.  For example, 6 QT of ground apples are required, but how exactly does one get ground apples?  In a hand-crank sausage grinder, of course.  "Do you have one?" she asked.  Uh, no.  "Well," she says, "I'll bet you can pick one up real cheap somewhere."  Right.  I'll put that on my Target list.  In the meantime, my shiny Cuisinart food processor did the job just fine.  I also deviated from the recipe when instructed to "place in roaster and put in oven."  Because of the quantity of apples I was using, I roasted some and simmered some on the stovetop.  The results were identical.  Do what suits you best.

Granny Ruby's Apple Butter
6 QT Ground Apples
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP Cinnamon
1 TBSP Cloves
A pinch of Salt
10 cups (or a 5lb bag) of Sugar

Peel, core, and chop apples.  Grind, if hand-crank sausage grinders are your thing, or process in a food processor until, well, ground.

Place in a roasting pan and put in oven.  Cook for 2-3 hours at 350 degrees or until your apple butter reaches your desired thickness.  Alternately, simmer on stovetop for a comparable time.  In both scenarios, you'll  need to stir periodically to keep it from sticking.  Makes 5 QTs.

Finally, put in hot sterile jars, and process in a waterbath for 10-15 minutes.

Make some.  Eat some.  Thank a granny.  They have all the best recipes.

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