Let’s start into this year’s apple season with caramel apple butter! There is always a need for caramel apple butter in my world because it is tasty with so many things: pancakes, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, and bread (especially with cream cheese).
I am back from my weekend trip to the mountains, and as expected, I have a fridge full of apples and a head full of yummy ideas on how to put them to good use.
A few variations are in season now, and we picked Beni Shogun, Braeburn, Mutsu, and Jonagold (actually not sure about the last one). However, when I talked about “we” decided, we shared the work, Mr. F selected (almost all of them) and carried our harvest. I was in charge of the quality department. It was one tough job. I can’t remember when I ate so many apples at a time. But, honestly, I didn’t weasel my way out of apple picking. I was promoted to this position because I would only pick the cute apples, and Mr. F didn’t have the patience to fill our buckets with tiny apples, and also, he was going for the big ones.
Apple butter is apple slices cooked down until super soft. Then you separate the skins and cores from the pulp by pressing them through a sieve and cook once more until it’s thickened and has the consistency of jam. It’s a great way to use up some apples which have been sitting around for a few too many days. I love to stir yogurt into my oatmeal and top this with caramel apple butter; it’s the first taste of fall!
Store-bought apple butter is loaded with sugar rather too sweet for my taste, and I am missing the natural apple taste in most of them. In this recipe, I reduced the amount of sugar and added cinnamon and cider vinegar to bring out more of the flavor of the apples.
- 3 pounds apples
- 100 g / ½ cup granulated sugar
- 120 ml / ½ cup water
- 80 ml / ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- Wash the apples and quarter if apples are small and cut them into even smaller pieces if apples are large. No need to peel or remove the cores!
- Put the sugar in a large, comprehensive, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high temperature and let it caramelize until golden brown.
- Add the apple pieces, water, and vinegar to the pot; this will bubble up and spatter, so add it slowly and be careful. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir from time to time. Let cook until the apples are (really) very tender for about 25-30 minutes.
- Press the apples with the cooking liquid through a sieve. Discard the skins and cores. Return the pulp to the pot, add the cinnamon stick and simmer until thick and brown for about 1 – 1 ½ hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning, especially towards the end of the cooking time.
- Remove the caramel apple butter from the heat, fill in sterilized jars and screw the lids on.
- If caramelizing sugar is a scary thing for you, skip this step and add the sugar; it will be fine! First, however, try brown sugar if available.
- Because it’s low in sugar, you can store the caramel apple butter for about four weeks. I am sure you can keep it for longer, but I could never save some for trying out.