The math is pretty simple for this recipe: 12 cups of homemade applesauce & 12 hours in a crock pot yields 6 pints of sweet & spicy apple butter. Apple butter makes a tasty topping biscuits, rolls & toast…or if you find it as hard to resist as some people I know, you can eat it all by itself out of a bowl. And as a bonus – making apple butter makes your house smell amazing!
The rich brown color of apple butter comes from a combination of brown sugar, cinnamon & cloves, but part of it is also due to oxidation of the apples. Just like a sliced apple turns brown if it’s exposed to air long enough, the oxygen in the air reacts with the apples as they cook.
Enzymatic browning is not harmful, but discoloration on a fresh apple is somewhat unappealing. Recently some scientists and plant breeders figured out how to ‘turn off’ the genes that cause enzymatic browning to create Arctic Apples which will be available in Granny Smith & Golden Delicious varieties initially.
Arctic apples are so new you can’t buy them yet – some growers have planted trees but it will take a few years before they will bear fruit.
Did you know there are more than 7,500 apple varieties in the world? About 100 of those varieties are grown commercially. Check out this handy overview of apple varieties from Modern Farmer for more information.
For this recipe, I would recommend Yellow Delicious, Fuji, MacIntosh or Jonathon apples.
Please note that fresh apple butter (like this recipe) needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen. The only real challenge is making all the applesauce, which should be done the day before. When it comes to cooking the applesauce into apple butter – you pretty much set it & forget it.
Crock Pot Apple Butter
- 12 cups homemade applesauce
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- Pour 12 cups applesauce into large crock pot
- Stir in all of the remaining ingredients.
- Cook on low uncovered for 12 hours. Stir occasionally (about 4-5 times during the cooking process).
- Transfer to jars or containers. Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes then refrigerate uncovered overnight. Cover with lids & freeze or pass it out to friends & neighbors to enjoy.