This recipe is for use in a crock pot, but I make mine on top of the stove. Just adjust times based on the texture and taste of the apple butter if you want to make stovetop. I really like this recipe in part because your additional ingredients are based on the amount of sauce made after your apples have been cooked and strained. I enjoy an apple butter with robust flavor but Mike prefers the spices to be toned down. (I like to use the spices in the exact amounts specified in this recipe, but if you like a milder taste, just cut back on the spices.) While these directions offer the convenience of using the modern convenience of a crock pot, the flavor yields old fashioned taste.
Old Fashioned Apple Butter
For every 12 to 14 apples use the following:
2 cups apple cider/apple juice (I actually used hard cider)
2 cups sugar (I used dark, brown sugar for a more robust taste. You can use white sugar or a mixture of white and brown.)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Wash apples very well. Ideally, use apples that have been organically grown. A mixture of vinegar and water help to get sprays and dirt off the fruit which is important because we are leaving the peelings on the apples for this first step. (The peelings have pectin which helps to make a thicker, firmer final product.) Soak apples in vinegar water solution by adding about 1/2 cup of vinegar to water and allowing your apples to soak for about 20 minutes before rinsing them off.
Cut apples by coring and quartering. (You can see in the picture I cut mine into smaller pieces to speed up the cooking process)
Stir in Cider. (I actually used hard cider but you can use any type of cider or apple juice.) Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 10-18 hours in crock pot or adjust times for stove top.
Take your cooked apples and put in a sieve/food mill to remove skins and puree. Measure and pour applesauce back into crock pot. For every pint of fruit, add one cup of sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of all spice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
Stir to mix, cover, and cook for six to eight hours, stirring frequently to keep sauce from sticking to crock pot or pan.
Remove lid half way through process (after three or four hours if using the crock pot) to allow steam to escape and sauce to thicken.
Apple butter can then be canned or frozen.
For more information on canning apple butter, check out this recipe with instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.