Here in Virginia our apple season is almost over. I have been busy making all things apples. One of our favorite recipes, is Apple Butter. I love to keep extra jars of it in the freezer for eating and they make the perfect gifts! I have so many fond child hood memories involving apples. Apply picking, apple butter, apple sauce, apples with peanut butter or carmel, and my dads amazing apple pie. His crust recipe was the perfect combination of flakey, fluffy, and soft. Unfortunately when he passed away his filling and crust recipe went with him. It has taken me many years to tweak and perfect an apple filling recipe.
We used to buy pre made apple butter at road side stands or fairs, but then I discovered how much sugar went in to each of those delicious bites, so I was off to create a healthier version. As a family now, we still enjoy that goodness but in a much healthier version.
Most days, my daughter has a little bit of apple butter every morning on her gluten free waffle, except for the days she eats oatmeal. White sugar in our home makes for an extra crazy day in our special needs household, not to mention its just not good for you body! After months of tracking, Raising a kid is hard enough, why make it harder.
Store bought apple butter contains tons of white sugar, which is on our list of don't use if can be avoided. I set to the drawing board a couple years ago to find a recipe that didn't contain it, turns out that was much harder then I thought it would be. After much tweaking, I am very proud of my Apple Butter recipe. Its healthier, contains no white sugar, so easy to make (hello crock pot), and tastes delicious! Not to mention your home will smell amazing! My daughter had a farmers market brand recently asked me why it tasted yucky. She likes her sweets like her momma but this tasted funny to her and she wanted my apple butter (to magically appear from my purse.) A total mommy win in my books.
The Perfect Jar of Apple Butter
10 Medium-Large Apples (approx 6.5 lbs)
1/3 cup Organic coconut sugar
1/4 cup or 3 trickles of Local Honey, Agave Nectar, or Maple Syrup
2 tsp - 1 Tablespoon organic ground cinnamon
2 drops Young Living Nutmeg Vitality Essential Oil
1 drop Young Living Clove Vitality Essential Oil
1/4 tsp Salt (I like Pink Himalayan salt)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (choose organic when possible)
Peel, Core, and slice apples. I tend to use a variety of sweet and tart apples. Pick from many of the varieties out there, choosing the ones you and your family enjoy the most.
Add apples to Crock pot plus all the other ingredients listed accept the Vanilla Extract. Cinnamon is to taste, we love cinnamon and use about 3/4 tablespoon of ground cinnamon. If I'm low I will use Young Living Cinnamon bark essential oil (1-2 drops) with 2 tsp ground cinnamon. I prefer to use all ground cinnamon in this recipe as it helps add your classic apple butter color. I find adding the honey or agave nectar tricky. If you are like me and hate to put sticky stuff in a measuring cup and then have to clean it out later, use the trickle method. Either a spoon (because those are lick-able) or with a squirt top, trickle in a zig zag pattern back in forth across your apples approximately 3-4 times.
Once all your ingredients have been added, stir using a metal or wooden spoon. No plastic spoons when using essential oils.
Set Crock pot on low and place lid. I always do this recipe at night time so I can wake to that amazing apple-cinnamon smell in the morning. Definitely no cases of the grumps on apple butter mornings.
10 hours later, stir your apples, breaking them down slightly so your mixture is a combo of smooth and chunky, add your Vanilla Extract, stir again, and replace lid. Cook on low for 2 more hours.
Using your immersion blender, blend your mixture until well blended (careful not to splatter, its hot!) At this step if your apple butter is a little watery, continue to cook on low in the crock pot with the lid off until desired consistency is met. I find this varies on the kinds of apples I'm using, some are more juicy then others. Some days its perfect, other days i have to cook for 1-2 more hours. Be sure to stir every 30 minutes while the lid is off. As it thickens you may see bubbling or even worse it could burn.
Add mixture to mason jars, leave a little gap at the top, let cool slightly before adding lid. The heat from the apple butter will aid in sealing your jar. I like to use a small or medium size. Ideal for storage and/or perfect for gift giving. Little 4 oz jars of this would make great teacher, co-worker, and family gifts.
Serve on your choice of bread, crackers, fruit, or just eat if off a spoon. We love it on top of waffles, dairy free cream cheese, and just off a spoon! Freeze extra jars for eating or gifting later.
Printable recipe card and Printable labels. I used Avery labels #22807 but you can print to paper, cut them out and tape them on. If using the Avery labels, when printing do not select fit to screen.
Enjoy! I can't wait to hear how you eat your apple butter!