This apple butter is so worth the wait- and don’t be deterred by the time it takes, the actual work you have to do is just the 10 minutes worth of washing and chopping. It also makes your house smell AH-MAZING. We use its sweet maple-caramel-spiced flavour on toast, meat or chicken (especially yummy on pork), in oatmeal, or just by the spoonful. I personally plan on making an apple butter grilled cheese later today! Because this recipe doesn’t add a ton of sugar or syrup like some of the others the apples really get to shine, and it doesn’t become overly sweet. Its also better for you.
Most apple butter recipes call for skinned apples, but we are going to be smart and leave the skins on. With apples and pears the skins offer most of the nutrition including filling and blood sugaring lowering fibre and disease and inflammation fighting antioxidants (like Quercertin). We’re going to be pureeing it anyways, and I find the skins break down quite well with the long slow cooking time. The flax adds some extra fibre, and immune boosting/inflammation lowering omega 3’s. I
If you are keeping the whole batch for yourself (nobody will judge, it will be our secret), leave one jar in the fridge and freeze the rest in to a few small/medium freezer bags. This will keep it foodsafe and fresh tasting.
One last point before we get started- I found a bag of mixed “applesauce apples” (read no longer perfectly crisp or pretty looking) for $1.69 at Two EE’s farm market in Surrey. They are fantastic for fresh produce and herbs, much of it local when possible and some grown on their own farm just down the road. Check it out-their prices and quality are great and they actually have a great selection, much more interesting than you would find in the grocery store. And no, I didn’t get paid (or free food) to plug for them. I just love a good place to get produce!
Find them here: http://www.wegroworganic.ca/Contact_Us.html
Maple Cinnamon Apple Butter
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20-24 hours
Yield: Makes about 2 mason jars worth (or ~4-5 cups)
4-5 lb apples (I had about 4 lb after weeding out some not so pretty ones, but slow cooker recipes are flexible).
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flax
Wash your apples well under warm water. Cut the apple off the core, then roughly chop in to chunks. Perfection in size and shape are not needed here- its going to turn in to mushy, caramelized goodness eventually no matter what shape your chunks are in. This took me just under 10 minutes.
Add your apples to the slow cooker and turn on to high.
Add your maple syrup, water and cinnamon. Give everything a good stir and cover the slow cooker.
Leave to cook on high for about an hour (you can skip this step if you have somewhere you need to be, it will add an hour or two to the slow cooking time). Turn the slow cooker down to low and….wait. I stirred before bed to prevent burning on the top, and one other time but it probably wasn’t necessary.
My apple butter took 22 hours, yours may take anywhere from 20-24 depending on your slow cooker and apples. You are looking for the apples to be super soft, dark brown and the whole mixture to be very thick. There should be very little free liquid left in the slow cooker. If you are having trouble getting it to thicken, leave the lid off and turn up to high for an hour or so to let the liquid evaporate.
When your apples are ready, either puree with an immersion blender or throw in the food processor. Refrigerate for about a week or freeze for 2-3 months.