Category: canning

Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade Apple Butter

So basically, my crock pot hates me.

It’s supposed to be one of the easiest appliances to use, right? Everytime I’ve tried to something has gone wrong. Things are either over cooked or undercooked, and definitely not very tasty. I decided I needed to find a recipe that couldn’t possibly fail. When I realized I had 5 pounds of apples, I had my answer.

I found a recipe for crock pot apple butter, and it seemed super easy. Peel and chop the apples, add sugar and spices, let cook overnight. I could do that. My crock pot could do that.

It turns out peeling and chopping 5 1/2 pounds of apples is kind of a pain in the a…pple. Your hands get all slippery and tired, and you get sticky apple juice everywhere. Then the apples didn’t fit into my crockpot, so I had to puree them all in order to make the most of the space I had. Finally I got everything in the crock pot and turned it on. The recipe said the whole thing would take less than 12 hours. Great!

12 hours later? Not even close to done.

I ended up cooking this apple butter for a full 24 hours. Between prepping, cooking, and canning, the whole project took 26 hours! 26! A lot of that was downtime, but still. My crock pot is cursed.

It was so worth it though. It’s dark, sweet, tangy, silky, and spicy. It is SO GOOD on toast with a little vegan margarine, you have no idea. It’s like concentrated apple pie. I wish you could taste it. Well, actually, you might be able to!

Since I have a lot of this stuff, and it’s such a b…anana to make, I’m going to give away three jars to VeganYumYum readers. Yay!

Win Homemade Organic Apple Butter!

Contest is closed!  Stay tuned for the winners!

Homemade Apple Butter1) Comment!
2) Use a valid email address! (Will not be published!)
3) Win apple butter!

In one week (November 11th at 5 PM), I’ll use a random number generator to pick three numbers, corresponding to the comments here. Those people win a 1/2 pint jar of organic apple butter, complete with fun spreader knife and recipe card. I’ll email you to tell you you’ve won: just reply with a mailing address.

Some general rules: If you don’t leave a valid email address with your comment, I’ll pick another person. If I don’t hear back from you with your mailing address, I’ll pick another person. I’ll ship overseas, so don’t worry, everyone can play!

For those of you who don’t win, here’s the recipe. I used this recipe found I online.

Crock Pot Apple Butter
Makes 4 Pints

5 1/2 lbs Apples, peeled and finely chopped (as many different kinds as you can!)
4 Cups Sugar
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Sprinkle Nutmeg

Peel and core the apples. Slice finely or puree in a food processor. Add apples and remaining ingredients to your crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 8-10 hours. Remove lid (or crack it open a bit) and cook on high until a wooden spoon stands upright in it. The apple butter will have reduced by about half to get to this point. Blend if desired.

Fill sterilized jars with simmering apple butter and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remove jars and let sit, undisturbed, overnight. Test the seals and refrigerate any jars that have not sealed completely. Fully sealed jars will keep for 18-24 months unopened. Once opened, the apple butter will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator, or indefinitely in the freezer.

Good luck!

Homemade Apple Butter

Tangelo Marmalade

Tangelo Marmalade

I bought some organic Minneola Tangelos last time I went to the store. When I juiced one, I was shocked. It was practically a water balloon. I couldn’t believe how much juice came out of each one. I’ve been thinking about marmalade for a while now, and here was a perfect opportunity to make it.

My mother loves marmalade, so there was always a jar in the fridge for toast or PB&J sandwiches when I was growing up. I loved the rich orange color, I loved the little wisps of rind, and I loved the “adult” flavor–sweet and bitter at the same time.

I made just a small amount of marmalade because I didn’t feel like going through the effort of canning, and besides, I only had three tangelos left. One jar of marmalade would be perfect. In retrospect, this stuff is so damn good I’m sorry I didn’t buy out the store’s entire supply of tangelos to put up as much of it as possible. But I suppose there’s still time for that!

I think my absolute favorite way to eat marmalade is on toast with a little Earth Balance margarine to balance the sweetness. I’m not generally a toast and jam sort of girl, but I make an exception for marmalade. If you only enjoy your marmalade on toast, though, you’re really missing out. It makes an excellent glaze for tofu, seitan, or veggies. It’s perfect in between layers of cake. Mix it in with ice cream, make a dipping sauce for pot stickers… you get the idea. It works equally well for sweet and savory dishes.

You can use any citrus you want for this, including lemons. Traditionally Seville Oranges are used, but I really enjoy this version made with minneola tangelos–they’re a cross between a tangerine (super sweet) and a grapefruit (deliciously tart) and have tons of juice. Use whatever citrus that’s in season and organic (no nasty chemicals on the rinds) and you’ll have a wonderful result. Here’s the formula:

For every 1 lb fruit (weighed after zest and rind are removed)
3 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar
50% Available Zest

Makes approx. 16oz Marmalade

Additonal Add-Ins: A cinnamon stick, some thinly sliced ginger, hot chilies, star anise.

I used three tangelos which was about 1/2 lb peeled fruit, so my measurements were 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and 50% of the zest. That produced approximately 8 oz of finished marmalade.

Tangelo Zest

Wash your fruit well and use a regular vegetable peeler to remove the zest. Take the zest off in wide strips, 1-2″ long. Discard 50% of the zest, leaving only the pieces that are in the best condition (no discoloration, etc).

Zest Julienne

Chop the zest. I prefer to julienne it (it’s just so gosh darn pretty that way), but any kind of small cut will do just fine.

Cooked Tangelo Zest

Boil the zest in water for 10 minutes, then strain. Boil again in fresh water until tender. I boiled mine for about 10 minutes after the rinse, but the time to tenderness will depend on how you cut your zest. Strain and set aside once tender.

Adding Water

Meanwhile, chop up your fruit. You can remove the white pith if desired. I left mine on because I was lazy. If you leave yours on, too, remember that this will add to the weight. I wanted to use about 1/2 pound of fruit, so I measured a little heavy (11 oz. as opposed to 8 oz.) to account for the added weight of the peel.

Add fruit and water to a large sauce pot (you’ll need a lot of room in there, once the sugar starts to boil the volume will increase considerably). Boil the fruit and water for 15-20 minutes. You can use a potato masher to crush the fruit a bit if desired.

Straining Juice

Let the fruit/water mixture sit until it’s cool enough to handle, then strain out the juice. Since I was making a small amount of marmalade, I only had 1 cup of juice after straining.

Add the juice, the zest and the sugar back to the pot. Boil for 15-20 minutes until a small amount of the the marmalade “sets-up” on a cold spoon or dish. The longer the marmalade cools, the thicker it will get. (Don’t worry if your marmalade doesn’t set up super-firm, it’s still tasty and will make a great glaze.)

Tangelo Marmalade

Turn off the heat and let the marmalade sit for 20 minutes or so. Then pour it into jars. If you wish to preserve/can the marmalade, now is when you’d process it in a Boiling Water Bath. Without a BW bath, the marmalade must be refrigerated and consumed within several days. For canning instructions, follow the directions included with your canning jars.

Stay tuned, in a few days I’ll post a recipe for Grilled Marmalade Tofu.

Tangelo Marmalade