Thursday, November 4, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 4 - Apple Butter (Song and Recipe)

Oh, apple butter. 

Nothing says autumn quite like it. I usually make enough in the fall to at least get me to the first big snowfall. This year I made a double batch, 11 pounds' worth of apples, which should get me there even though I've given quite a bit of it away. 

I don't usually make conscious efforts when choosing the style my songs will be in (in fact, my song "writing" process is pretty much unconscious from start to finish), but I'd like to think that subconsciously I sang this song in a monotonous tone in order to signify winter's slowly yet steadily approaching march. 

It just gets colder and colder here and we all sit around waiting for the snow, wondering how we're going to deal with it when it gets here. And then all of a sudden, plop, down drops a few inches and it seems to only take one time leaving the house to get used to the new snow-covered reality. 

Anyway, apple butter: 

Here's the recipe my mom gave me a few years ago. My mom prefers to cut back on the spices so she can taste the apples more, but I really like that cinnamony clovey taste, so I put in the full amount. 

All Day Apple Butter

5 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (no bigger than one inch)
4 cups sugar (or a cup less, if you want)
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or less if you want)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (or 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. salt

-Place chopped apples in crock pot.
-Combine sugar, cinnamon, 
cloves and salt; pour over apples and mix well. 
-Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
-Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking)
-Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired stir with a wire whisk until smooth.
-Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.
-Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Yield: 4 pints.

This freezes and thaws really nicely, so don't worry about making too much. 

This year, I used an immersion blender. It really smoothed out everything, which actually was a bit of a drawback for me. I don't like my apple butter to be chunky, but I do like it to have a bit of texture. I think next year I'll stick with just letting the apples dissolve, helping them along with a whisk. 

Oh, and I use Haralson's because those are the apples that, until this year, my dad grew in his yard. He used to have five trees, I think. The last one had to be chopped down last fall (or was it this spring?), so this is the first year I've had to buy the apples I make apple butter with. The money doesn't bother me, I just liked the idea of using apples from the trees I grew up with. 

I suppose this is just a small reminder that I'm actually aging. Outliving the trees from my youth and all...

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