Apple butter, like peach butter, is an incredibly versatile and underappreciated condiment. If you always have a jar in the kitchen, you’ll find all kinds of ways to use it – in recipes, in vinaigrettes, or just plain as a topping for fresh fruit. It adds a hint of rich sweetness that works equally well for desserts and savory main courses, and with this Paleo version, you never have to worry about anything unhealthy coming along for the ride: it’s just apples, spices, and a little vinegar.
Despite being such a simple recipe, apple butter is actually quite versatile: you can vary the taste and texture by changing the type of apple you choose. One classic favorite is to use a combination of tart and sweet apples (so half Granny Smith and half Red Delicious or another very sweet apple). Another good option is Macintosh apples – or if you have a local orchard, ask what varieties they would recommend.
After the apples are thoroughly cooked, the apple butter gets its creamy texture from the simple process of evaporation: another hour or so in the slow cooker concentrates the flavor and texture from applesauce into apple butter. To get this effect, make sure you leave the lid off during this part: otherwise, the water won’t evaporate and you’ll just get twice-cooked applesauce. A bonus from this method: your whole house will start to smell delicious! Depending on how thick you like your applesauce, this recipe should give you around 2 jars: keep one for yourself, and give one to a friend who could use something delicious and healthy to brighten up their day!
Apple Butter Recipe
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 5 hours.
- 4 lbs. apples, cored and quartered;
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar;
- 2 tsp. cinnamon; (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves;
- Place all the apple slices and the apple cider vinegar in a slow cooker set on high and cook for 4 hours.
- Stir several times during the cooking, to make sure the apples don’t stick to the bottom.
- Once the apples are cooked, they should be soft enough to break easily with a spoon. Mash them with a potato masher or a wooden spoon until you get a sort of applesauce with skin.
- Place the applesauce in a blender and pulse until you get a really fine puree with an almost buttery texture. You might need to work in batches for this.
- Pour the apple butter back to the slow cooker. Mix in the cinnamon and cloves. Cook on high, uncovered, for another 45 to 60 minutes or until you get the desired texture.
- Place in jars and refrigerate.