Saturday, May 28, 2011

Apple Cider Butter

7-8 lbs. granny smith apples, washed and quartered, but unpeeled
6 c. apple cider, fresh or bottled
3 c. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
dash freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the apples, 4 c. of the cider, and 4 c. of water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Puree the apples discarding the seeds and peel. Transfer to oven proof pan and stir in the remaining cider, the sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Place the pan over moderate heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 hours, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Preheat the oven to 250*. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven. Cook for 8 hours, stirring about once an hour, scraping the sides of the pan. The color will darken and a skin will form between stirrings. Remove a Tbsp. to a small saucer. Chill for 5 minutes in the freezer. The chilled mixture should be thick enough to mound and slide from the spoon. Taste and adjust the sugar and spices if necessary. Continue cooking for 3-4 hours more. Fill the jars. If you do not wish to jar the apple butter at this time, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then bring to a boil on top of the stove and ladle into jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp towel, and seal with new lids and metal rings. Process in a hot water bath for 22 minutes. Remove, cool, check seals, label, and store in cool dry place.

Yield: makes about 6 pint jars

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