Today's post is dedicated to my dear sister in law (and you know who you are, Shannon) who has been requesting for quite some time that I post how to make apple butter in a crock pot. Well, after our conversation last weekend (where she informed me that she has boxes of mushy apples in her basement that need some attention), I have been guilted into it (just kidding). Apple butter is yummy, but a very time consuming process, if you follow the traditional methods. Several years ago I stumbled across this recipe in a cook book, and have tweaked to my families tastes. The secret is to place the handle of a wood spoon under the lid to allow the steam to escape slowly. That's what allows the butter to thicken. Stir it hourly also helps to break down the apples faster, too.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
3 quarts of apples
2 cups apple juice or cider
2 - 2 1/2 cups sugar (less if using sweet apples)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 ground cloves (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Peel, core, and chop apples (I like to use my apple peeler, slicer, corer) . Combine apples and juice in slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours (keep the lid on a this point you are cooking the apples right now. I start it before bed time and let it cook overnight). Next, stir in sugar to taste, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (if desired) and lemon juice. Prop up lid with spoon and continue to cook on high 4 - 6 hours (stirring hourly) until it reaches the desired consistency (a little bit thicker the applesauce). Pour into containers and freeze or pour into pint jars and process in water bath canner. Makes 5 pints of apple butter
You can tweak this recipe to make pear or peach butter, too. Fruit butters are a great way to use up mushy, over ripe fruit.