Last week Sam came home with a giant bag of apples that he received from one of his co-workers. The next best thing to actually having an apple tree in your own garden is knowing people who do. I couldn't justify making more than one apple pie (which I only justified making anyway because it was experimentation and research for the Thanksgiving meal I will be making for my first-timer English family members in a couple of weeks), so I had a little thinking session about what else to do with the heap of apples I had left. It didn't take long to settle on apple butter as the correct route to go with these puppies, so I did a little of my usual online research and came up with this method which is a combination of several and a lot less work than some:
-Peel, core and slice the apples (I had about 12 giant ones)
-Put them into a slow-cooker on medium heat overnight
-In the morning add a reasonable amount of sugar, cinnamon, and cloves (about 3/4 cup, 1 TBSP, and 1/2 TBSP respectively, in my case)
-Turn the slow-cooker on low and leave it all day
I would stir the concoction whenever I happened to be in the kitchen, and by morning it was an incredible dark color which only became more rich as I added the spices and let it cook all day.
I also used a non-traditional way of canning them, and I hope it works. I always save jars these days, so I chose a few that had lids and put the jars in the oven at a high temperature for about 20-30 minutes, and boiled the lids. Then once I had filled the jars and put the lids back on I boiled them for an additional 5-10 minutes. I used a set of sterilized silicone tongs to remove and attach things and to save my fingers. I have no idea if this is in any way a good way to jar things, but I figured they are sterilized enough right? Uh...
**By all means, do not follow my canning method if you are at all uncomfortable with it, I am just relaying what I did:)**
Anyway, the apple butter turned out wonderfully, and I'm so glad that I tried it! It's so exciting to make things myself and to learn how things are done. I have been inspired lately by Jimmy Doherty who is a farmer with a tv show on the BBC. His programs are so interesting to watch. He has this new one where he has designed a "food factory" (which is actually just a barn on his property) and he makes all kinds of things that are mass produced and sold in supermarkets, just to see how it's done, like corn flakes, instant coffee and even coca-cola--the sorts of things that you would never ever think of making (and also probably shouldn't). Anyway, it's so cool!