Mom's homemade bread immediately came to mind. And for me, that homemade bread would either be made into a raw onion sandwich (hey, don't knock it until you try it with sweet onions from the garden) or toasted and topped with apple butter. Too bad they don't have an aisle for home canned goodies in the grocery store.
It just so happened that Marlys and Paul brought us a great big box of Haralson apples
when they came to our house for Lisa and my Julia Child paella dinner. They happen to be my favorite apple, sliced and eaten with just a sprinkle of salt. However, there were just too many apples for me to eat! Marlys also happened to bring a sample of her homemade apple butter (using our Mom's recipe) with that big box of apples.
I recently purchased a new Dutch Oven, which prompted Suzanne to send me a recipe for apple butter made in that type of pot. With two reminders of one of my favorite comfort foods, I guess I had no other choice! So, I spent the past two days turning 20 pounds of apples into homemade apple butter. Paul had the camera ready to snap pictures of the project as it unfolded.
Day One: Apple Sauce Day
I washed and cored the apples.
Some recipes indicate to peel the apples first. I didn't for two reasons:
- I didn't want to peel all those apples!
- I like the color the cooked peels give to the applesauce.
I cooked the sliced apples for about 30 minutes. For every dozen apples, I added a cup of water, 1/4 cup sugar and a dash of salt.
I gave the apples an occasional stir during that half hour.
When they were cooked,
it was time to put them through the food mill.
Notice, Suzanne, I am using all gluten free equipment!!
This step is a bit laborious, but well worth the effort! Those 20 pounds of apples made about 10 quarts of applesauce. I kept about 2 quarts to eat as apple sauce and designated the remaining eight quarts for apple butter. Time to clean up the kitchen and call it a day.
Day Two: Apple Butter Day
I divided the apple sauce into two pots, using Mom's recipe in one and an adaptation of the recipe from Suzanne in the second. When the flavorings are added, the applesauce has to simmer slowly on the stove. Stirring every so often keeps the apple mixture from burning on the bottom. The cast iron worked perfectly for this slow cooking process, providing very even heat without any hot spots on the bottom.
It took several hours for the apple sauce to thicken into apple butter. Our house smelled so incredibly wonderful all day. It was fun to walk into the kitchen and give the pots a stir!
When the apple butter held its shape on a spoon, I considered it done. And that sample from Marlys helped to have as a point of reference.
Next, the apple butter was placed into the jars.
After their covers and rings were in place, the jars went into their hot water bath and were processed for ten minutes.
There really is a great sense of satisfaction to hear those pings when the jars seal!
We now have sixteen jars of apple butter. Suzanne, time to fire up that new gluten free bread machine! Let's make some toast! Or use it to sweeten yogurt, or on pancakes, or with a pork chop... Yum!