Though apple butter originated in the Middle Ages as a way to preserve the fruit, and is traditionally eaten all over Europe and North America, in my mind it’s about as Southern as it gets. That’s probably because I grew up eating it at Cracker Barrel and at mountain apple festivals. Making it in the crockpot is less romantic than outdoors in the traditional huge copper pots, but isn’t all life a tradeoff between romance and convenience? This still manages to perfume your entire house while you sleep, making for apple dreams and a delicious autumn scent to wake up to.
Things to eat apple butter on include: biscuits, French toast, bagels, latkes, pumpkin bread, pork chops, almond butter sandwiches, oatmeal, turkey and brie sandwiches, pancakes, yogurt, salad dressing, bbq sauce, sausage, pound cake, panfried salmon, sweet potato fries, ice cream, fingers, spoons.
Crockpot Apple Butter
- 5 large mixed apples
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 a cinnamon stick
- seeds from 1 green cardamom pod
- a couple slivers of fresh ginger
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
Core apples and chop into large chunks. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook covered and bubbly on high for 1 hour (you will need to babysit it during this time and stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered slightly, for 8-10 hours until dark brown and thick. Remove the cinnamon stick and blend half in the blender if you want to keep some chunks (make sure to get the ginger in there), or blend the whole thing to make it smooth (my preference).
Return to crock pot and cook on high one more hour, stirring once in awhile to make sure it’s not burning. Cool.
If you’re into canning, you can double or triple this recipe for pretty holiday gifts and homemade apple butter all year round!