“No-Sugar-Added Apple Butter”
Ingredients: Apples, Apple Cider, Cinnamon.
“Surely there’s a bit of sugar in there somewhere,” I thought after reading the label of what was easily the best apple butter I had ever tasted. A no-sugar-added version from Windy Hill Farms in Windham, Maine, this apple butter was bright and tangy with only the slightest hint of cinnamon. It was a pleasant surprise compared to most apple butters (which I find taste like cinnamon-flavored mud.) So when my friend, Liz, suggested that we try making our own no-sugar-added apple butter like the one from Windy Hill, I was all in!
Though I was fully certain that we would need at least a little sugar…
The whole process began at Snell Family Farm in Buxton, Maine.
Among an assortment of vibrant vegetables and the prettiest pumpkins you’ve ever seen, the farm offered the following varieties of apples:
With sacks in hand, we headed out to the orchard to collect the perfect bushel.
It was hard not to go crazy and pick them all because each fruit was pure and perfect in its own appley way. I did, however, try to save as many apples that had fallen on the ground because I just can’t stand to see good fruit go to waste.
Maybe it’s for this reason that Eve offered Adam that forbidden fruit…
“Eat up, Mister. It would be a shame to let this sucker rot.”
After an hour we had picked a handsome collection which consisted of Cortland and Honey Crisp apples.
We also picked up a gallon of fresh apple cider. (Since this would be the main source of sweetness in the apple butter, we wanted to make sure we had a good cider.)
Oh how I wish I could have brought a gallon of this stuff home with me! (Dang terrorists.) With our apples and cider in hand, we headed home to start our experiment.
And the results? ZING! BAM! POW! The flavor was bright and tangy with only the slightest hint of cinnamon. And best of all? We didn’t use grain of sugar.
Cannot wait to make another batch from the apples I smuggled home!
No-Sugar-Added Apple Butter
Core and large-dice enough apples to fill up a large Crock-Pot. Do not peel the apples! The peeling gives the butter its rich apple flavor.
Dump the apples into the Crock-Pot. Pour the cider into a saucepan and toss in 6 whole cloves and a 4-inch cinnamon stick (not shown). Reduce the cider by half over medium-low heat. Remove cloves and cinnamon.
Pour reduced cider over apples and cover. Cook on “low” for 10-12 hours until the apples are cooked down and the mixture is thick.
Cool the mixture slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly old-fashioned, press the apple mixture through a sieve using a spatula. Discard any remaining peelings.
At this point, you can either can the apple butter or bring it to room temperature before storing it in the fridge in an airtight container. Canned apple butter will stay fresh for up to a year, but if it’s stored in the fridge, it will only stay fresh for about a month. For more step-by-step instructions on canning, click here.
How long did it take before we cracked open this jar and devoured its contents?
A. 30 seconds
B. 31 seconds
C. One day
Answer: Either way, don’t expect a jar to last long.
Especially if there are waffles lying around.
- 10-12 Honey Crisp apples, cored and large-diced (DO NOT PEEL!)
- 3 cups of apple cider (NOT apple juice)
- 6 whole cloves, optional
- 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
- Core and large-dice enough apples to fill up a large Crock-Pot. Dump the apples into the Crock-Pot.
- Pour the cider into a saucepan and toss in the whole cloves and cinnamon. Reduce the cider by half over medium-low heat. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick
- Pour reduced cider over apples and cover. Cook on “low” for 10-12 hours until the apples are cooked down and the mixture is thick.
- Cool the mixture slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. If you prefer more cinnamon, you may add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon here.
- Store apple butter in fridge or process in sterile jars for 10 minutes in boiling hot water.