October 20, 2010

Stayman-Winesap Apple Butter

10 Stayman Winesap apples, sliced
1 cup apple cider
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Vent by placing the lid on askew and cook on low for an additional 10-12 hours or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the cinnamon stick then pour the mixture into the food processor and puree. Cool completely and refrigerate up to 3 weeks or ladle when warm into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process in a hot water canner for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 5 8-oz jars.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
Stayman-Winesap apples are my absolute favorites. When I was growing up my grandpop could buy a bushel and store them on his (enclosed) basement steps. This year I decided to follow in his footsteps and we bought a bushel of apples at our local farmers market. Stayman-Winesaps normally show up on "cooking" and "baking" apple lists but I like them out of hand and spread with peanut butter or topped with sharp cheddar. I'd be content with that but since I have so many, apple butter seemed to be the thing to make. I came up with the 24 hour slow cooker fruit butter method a few years ago and it is by far many favorite method. No stirring, no scorching, no hands-on work needed except for the apple slicing (made easy with an apple slicer) and it makes your house smell amazing for a whole day. I made a batch of pear butter (recipe to come) at the same time and it really felt like fall. Try apple butter on muffins, rolls, toast, pancakes or as an ingredient in sauces, sandwiches, or baked goods. So versatile and so delicious.