February is a hard month to find fresh produce in need of preserving. That makes apples a go-to this time of year. Apple butter makes a delicious topping for toast, or you can stir it into oatmeal or even use it to accompany a cheese plate. This recipe is one of Jake‘s favorites, so he was excited we were making it.
4 lb. apples, stemmed and quartered
2 c. apple cider vinegar
½ c. brown sugar (per cup of pulp)
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Zest and juice of one lemon.
Place the apples and vinegar in a large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples become soft. Run the mixture through a food mill, discarding solids. Measure the apple pulp, then return it to the pot. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Place over medium heat and cook stirring continually until sugar dissolves completely. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches the jelling point (it sheets from a spoon, or sits on a plate without running or leaking a ring of liquid) remove from the heat.
If you are canning it, pour the finished apple butter into sterilized jars and process. Otherwise, freeze.
Note: If you don’t have a food mill, you can force the apple pulp through a fine sieve.