The county in which I live in Western North Carolina is well-known for its bountiful apple crops. We even have an entire festival dedicated to apples, and everyone who grew up here knows what it’s like to run barefoot through an apple orchard.
Not only do we know how to pick a basketful of apples and where to find the best ones around, we also know all about the versatility of the humble apple. Sure, they taste good by themselves, but there are so many other wonderful things to make with them. Applesauce, pies, cider, caramel apples – you can probably think of as many options as I can.
I love all of those things, and I’ve made most of them at least once, but one of my very favorite things to make from apples is apple butter. Apple butter is a smooth, dark, spiced spread that is amazing on biscuits, toast, or other types of baked goods.
Apple butter is one of my husband’s favorite spreads, so I try to make it at least once a year. In fact, I have a batch in the slow cooker right this minute, and you wouldn’t believe how good my house smells!
Crock Pot Apple Butter Recipe
- Slow cooker
- Apple slicer* (like this)
- Apple peeler* (like this)
- Immersion blender* (find them here)
- Glass jars or other airtight containers
*Okay, the slicer and peeler are actually optional. You can cut and peel with a knife, but it will take you much longer. You can do it without an immersion blender too, as long as you have a regular blender that you can pour the apple butter into.
- 6 lbs organic apples (ideally something soft, like Fuji, but use whatever you have)
- 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (find it here)
- ½ cup tightly packed organic brown sugar (find it here)
- 1 Tablespoon organic cinnamon (find it here)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (find unrefined sea salt here)
- ¼ tsp ground cloves (find organic cloves here)
1. First, you’re going to need to cut and peel those six pounds of apples. Apples vary greatly in size depending on their variety, so either buy your apples in labeled bags or weigh them at home. If you’re lucky, you already have the slicer and peeler. If you’re a minimalist or you deal with limited kitchen space, you’re going to have to do this by hand. Cut the apples into small cubes so that they will cook well, and put them directly into the slow cooker.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the other ingredients. If you don’t use granulated sugar at your house, there are recipes available that use honey as a sweetener. I choose not to use it because the vast majority of recipes call for white and brown sugar, and I can never bear the thought of apple butter turning out badly. It would be such a waste of apples! (If you’re braver than I am and have experimented with this, let me know about your results in the comments.)
3. Once you have mixed the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and cloves, pour the mixture over the apples in the slow cooker. Mix together.
4. Cook the apple butter on low for at least 8-10 hours. Mix it up occasionally to make sure that the apples are cooking evenly. When the apples are completely tender, take the lid off of the slow cooker and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour. This allows some of the water to evaporate and gives your apple butter a chance to properly thicken. You will know it is finished when the apples are almost completely broken down and the color has turned dark brown.
5. Blend with your immersion blender. If you don’t have one, transfer a small amount of apple butter at a time to a regular blender and blend until smooth.
6. Store in glass jars or other airtight containers. Apple butter freezes well, and keeps in the refrigerator, too. Note: You can also process and can this if you like.
How to Eat
Slather it all over some toast. Or a biscuit. Or a pancake. Whatever you want, really. I don’t think there’s any wrong way to eat apple butter!
Have you made apple butter before?
What’s your favorite way to eat it? Share in the comments section below!