Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recipe: Cranberry-Apple Butter

We made apple butter for the first time last fall and really enjoyed making it, smelling it's heavenly aroma that wafted through our house for a couple of days, and enjoyed eating it.

I love apple butter because it's a great substitute to fruit jams which are almost always laden with far too much sugar. Apple butter usually calls for tons of sugar too but I found that it can be just as tasty using honey instead and that the honeys' raw nutrition can be kept in tact when added to the finished apple butter after it has cooled.

We made it again this year but this time had the idea to make some cranberry apple butter as well. We only made a small batch of it but we like it so much (even more than regular apple butter) that we'll be making a larger batch soon.

Apple butter can be used as a spread for breads (muffins, toast, cornbread, etc.), it can be swirled into cottage cheese, it can be added to morning oatmeal, it can be used to make apple butter-peanut butter sandwiches, it can be spread on french toast, it can be folded into ice cream, it can be used to flavor plain yogurt, it can be added to the center of muffins before baking for a fun muffin surprise, a little of it can be mixed into a vinaigrette dressing to create a delicious salad dressing, it can be used as a dip for sweet potato fries, it can be spread on top of bagels already spread with cream cheese, or it can be added to pureed squash soups.

There's lots of uses for this good stuff!

Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Apple Butter

Apple sauce, 10 cups
Cranberries, fresh or thawed, 4 cups
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cloves

Use a mixture of twenty sweet apples such as Jonathon, Gala, Yellow Delicious, McIntosh or Fuji apples.

1. Core and slice the apples.
2. Place the sliced apples and cranberries in a pot of water containing one inch of water.
4. Stir in the cinnamon and cloves.
5. Bring to a boil.
6. Turn down heat to a medium-low heat setting, place lid on top and allow to simmer for approx. 15 minutes or until the apples become fairly mushy. Stir every now and then.
7. Allow the mixture to cool slightly then transfer the apple mixture to your blender in small batches.
8. Pour the pureed apple sauce in the crock pot.
9. Once all of the apples have been blended up and transferred to the crock pot turn the crock pot on high for an hour or until the apple puree begins to boil.
10. After it begins to boil turn your crock pot to a medium or low setting.
11. Allow the apple butter to cook down. Five to six hours of cooking will create a delicious cranberry-apple custard or allow to cook overnight and into the next day for a more deeply flavored cranberry apple butter.
12. After the apple butter reaches the consistency you like - allow to cool to room temperature and place in jars.

Store the cranberry apple butter in the fridge. It will keep for many, many weeks. It can also be frozen for a year or more.

* Honey can be stirred into the apple butter after it's cooled down but we found that we liked it just fine without.

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