Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple-Cranberry Butter

I've made apple butter (and pumpkin butter) before - but I didn't technically can it. I made a small amount and stored it in jars in the fridge - kind of like "refrigerator jam." This week I found jonathan apples on sale (49 cents a pound!) and decided to make a big batch of apple butter to give away for holiday gifts (Alfred, of course, doesn't want to share it). Because I'm not going to use it right away I needed to really can it so that it would be shelf stable. Who knew canning was so easy! I can't wait to make jam with next years berries and peaches!

I decided to make this apple butter with a little cranberry twist - for more traditional version you can use apple juice or cider in place of the cranberry juice.

To make the apple-cranberry butter:
In a large pot combine 2 quarts of peeled, chopped apples and 1 quart of cranberry juice. Simmer until the apples are tender. Puree the apple/juice mixture. Return the puree to the pot. Add 3 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of cloves. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture is nice and thick and 30-45 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering away prepare the jars for canning:
Place glass canning jars in a large pot - make sure they are covered with 1-2 inches of water. Boil the jars for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and drop in the lids. Let sit at least 10 minutes or until the apple butter is done cooking.

When the apple butter is done use tongs to remove the jars from the hot water (do not dry, just drain well), fill each with apple butter (leave a little air space, around half an inch). Make sure the tops of the jars are very clean (wipe away any apple butter). Place the lid on top and screw the rim on firmly. Let cool at room temperature - you should hear a pop as the jars seal.

After mine sealed I removed the rims and put a little piece of fabric between the lid and the rim - just for pretty! This is a great way to preserve the fresh fall produce and enjoy it all winter long. In my opinion it's best on biscuit, but it's pretty tasty on toast, pancakes, or even stirred into oatmeal!

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