- If you will be canning the apple butter, get suitable jars, lids and rings ready. In a large pot or water bath canner, cover jars with water and boil 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Place the lids in a small pan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a full boil and then turn the heat off. Leave the lids in the water until ready to place on the jars.
- Peel, core, and cut up the apples. Combine with the cider or water and cook until the apples are soft.
- Add sugar, salt, spices, and if using, the juice and zest from a lemon.
- Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until the mixture is very thick. (Test by scooping up a heaping spoonful. The mixture should keep its rounded shape and not flatten out.)
- To process: using tongs, remove a jar from the hot water, fill it to 1/2 inch from the top with apple butter, wipe the rim clean and retrieve a lid from the hot water.
- Put the lid on, screw on a ring just until snug. Return the filled jar to the pan of hot water. Continue until all jars are filled and/or the butter is gone.
- Return the pan of filled jars to the stove. Add more hot water if necessary to completely cover jars, then cover the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool somewhat (or completely); carefully remove jars to a dry surface. Cool completely before removing sealing rings. Check for seals following lid manufacturer's instructions. Freeze any that don't seal or refrigerate and use within a week.
- If you don't want to bother with canning, just freeze the apple butter in quantities that you can use within a week. Remove from freezer as needed and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.
|Prep Time: 30 minutes|
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Container: large pans, half-pint jars with lids suitable for canning
|-||4 pounds apples -mix several varieties, if possible|
|-||1 cup apple cider or water|
|-||2 cups sugar|
|-||1 teaspoon cinnamon|
|-||1/2 teaspoon cloves|
|-||1/2 teaspoon allspice|
|-||1 lemon (optional)|