Not going to lie, as soon as I sat down to write this post I decided that before. anything. else. happens. I needed to go toast another english muffin and slather it with chai spiced apple butter.
And eat at least 1/2 of the apple butter + english muffin (aka carby vehicle for apple butter) before I could possibly write that third sentence.
This is possibly the most delicious form of procrastination. Silky, apple-y procrastination.. According to legend (read: my personal wikipedia research) apple butter reigns from German monasteries and was first produced in the Middle Ages at as a way to preserve apples long into the winter. Apparently having a high sugar content allows the apples to keep for a long period of time versus something with lower sugar content, i.e. applesauce. Skip ahead 300 years and behold apple butter now omnipresent in Colonial America, where it has remained a traditional East Coast/ Southern America fall treat.
And now, dear readers, a Southern California yipster treat. Because let’s be honest, I am absolutely not cooking for necessity or preserving my own food for a long harsh winter ahead. And this aggressively spiced, perfectly creamy, apple-y sweet condiment is my new best friend. And since I am never known to engage in anything except superfluous food production/consumption (how’s that double negative for extra confusion)… I thought it might also be fun to learn how to preserve my own apple butter. Spoiler- it’s not that hard! You can read my instructions for canning below. But I basically followed the instructions from Ball’s website where they outline the USDA recommendations for canning high acidity foods. You can use a simple water bath. Ball, of course, recommends their own products, but you can easily do this with your own supplies at home. Just make sure you have a LARGE stockpot, a pair of tongs, and an oven mitt. So get prepared, world, for a whole new development in my cooking repertoire and (if you know me in real life), the constant possibility of receiving preserved food in a can.
Or, you know, maybe you’ll get a jar of apple butter at Christmas.
Chai Spiced Apple Butter
- 5 lbs apples peeled, cored, and diced (I used Gala)
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup white sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 30 whole cloves
- 20 green cardamom
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Place diced apples into slow cooker. Add sugars and salt to the apples and mix thoroughly.
- Place whole spices into cheesecloth and secure with string. Tuck spice sachet in the middle of the apples.
- Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
- Remove spice sachet.
- Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree all the apples until very smooth.
- Mix in vanilla extract.
- Continue cooking on low for the next 2 hours, but leave lid partially uncovered until consistency is to your liking.
- Makes 4 cups of apple butter.
- Cleanse 4 8-oz mason canning jars thoroughly with soap and water.
- Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place mason jars in the boiling water along with lids; boil for 10 minutes. (It is ideal to use a rack at the bottom of your pot to prevent breakage, but is not required).
- Using a tongs, remove one mason jar along with lid, pouring any water inside the mason jar back into the pot.
- Fill the mason jar with hot apple butter leaving ¼ inch head-space. Screw lid onto the jar until you meet resistance; no need to over tighten.
- Using tongs, return apple butter filled mason jar to the boiling water. Repeat for remaining jars.
- Boil jars for at least 10 minutes (you may boil longer), and then remove jars to a cooling rack.
- As they cool, the lids should seal and you should no longer be able to push down on the indentation in the center of the lid. This is how you know your jars have been sealed properly.
- Canned jars of apple butter may be stored for up to 1 year.
- Once opened, it will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.