After my apple picking adventure last week, I had a lot of apples.
While I generally see nothing wrong with having a surplus of any fruit or vegetable, I knew that having a giant pile of apples might quickly bore me, and since I’m alone this week, I decided to do something about it. Namely: applesauce.
I don’t have any left, so there are no pictures. Sorry. It was just so good… and all it was was apples. That’s it. None of this peeling, seasoning, sugar and spice business: I just cored the apples, cut them into chunks, put them in a giant pot with a bit of water at the bottom, covered and cooked. I like smooth applesauce, so I ended up going at it with the old immersion blender, and I’ve been eating it every morning since.
Well, today was the end of the applesauce. I was sad. Until I remembered the experiment I tried with about half of it: apple butter.
I had only ever tried apple butter in fancy inns… you know, the sorts of places where you get scones at breakfast and an assortment of jams and things to put on them. I always liked apple butter, but I had never even considered making it at home, mainly because I figured that it was one of those things whose butter content was better left a mystery. Little did I know, apple butter actually contains no butter at all.
When I tried to explain apple butter to the Country Boy, I likened it to apple jam, which is basically what it is: a bit shy of half as much sugar (by weight) to apples, and some long, slow stirring gets you a smooth paste that is amazing spread on toast and even better spooned directly out of the jar. And since I don’t feel like sharing, I added cinnamon*.
Note: a lot of this is to taste, based on how sweet you want the final product to be. The good news is that if you don’t find it sweet enough, it’s forgiving, and you can add more sugar, so start out with less, especially if your apples are naturally sweet. I used Boskoop, which are pretty acidic.
2 cups unsweetened applesauce (homemade is best!)
1 scant cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Put all of the ingredients in a shallow, wide pan (I use a heavy-bottomed frying pan) and heat over low heat. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon, being sure to scrape the bottom as you stir. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the purée has thickened; a dollop on a cold plate (from the freezer) should be thick, not runny. Store in the fridge or can in glass jars.