In the Pacific Northwest the end of summer and September brings apple season.
If you don’t have trees, ask around. You’d be amazed how many people don’t want their apples and will happily let you glean the trees for free.
I had just picked a bunch of apples, off an ancient tree, that tend to be very tart. Great for making apple butter! The cook down quickly and take on the spices added in.
Spiced Honey Apple Butter
- 8 pounds apples
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups raw honey
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 8 pint mason jars with rings and lids
Wash and dry the apples. Peel apples, quarter, and core.
Place the apples into a large stockpot, preferably stainless steel, with 4 cups water.
Bring to a boil and cook until apples are soft, mashing often to break them up.
Add sugar, honey and spices, stir until boiling, then lower heat to medium. Let cook, stirring often (tip: wear an insulated glove while stirring, the apple butter can and will spit at you). When the apple butter is looking thickened, and mounds up on a spoon nicely, it is ready to can.
Meanwhile, wash and rinse the jars; put them into a canning pot; cover the jars with water and bring to a boil; turn off the heat. Let stand in hot water until you are ready to fill.
Add the bands and lids into a medium saucepan, fill with water and bring to a simmer, let sit until you are ready to screw them on the jars. (Use new lids each time, bands can be reused.)
Grab a jar with a jar lifter, empty the water out of your jar, set on a clean kitchen towel and fill to ¼” of the top (a sterilized canning funnel works great) with hot apple butter. Use a canning bubble popper to run around the inside, add more butter if needed.
Wipe the rim with a new damp paper towel, removing any spilled butter, especially on the rim.
Place a lid on top and tighten a band around each jar. Repeat till all jars are full.
Place the jars into the canning pot using a jar lifter, using the canning rack to lower in. Make sure all jars are upright and that jars are fully submerged, with at least 2″ of water above. If not, add some of the hot water out of the pot that held the lids. Cover the pot and bring to boil.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Turn off the heat, take out carefully using a jar lifter. Have a clean kitchen towel on the counter, place each jar on it and let cool for at least 6 hours, overnight is better. Listen for the “popping sound” and keep track of how many times you hear it. Check after cooling that the lid is firm when pressed on, if it pops up and down, it isn’t sealed. If that happens, refrigerate that jar and use within a couple of weeks.
Once cooled, mark the lids, and store the jars in a pantry out of direct sunlight for up to 12 months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and use up within 3 to 4 weeks.