Instant Pot Apple Butter

Using your Instant Pot to make apple butter is game changing. No baby sitting it, no stirring, and it is done in a short time, versus many hours on the stove.

I prepped this in a 6 quart Instant Pot, if using a 8 quart this recipe is easily doubled. Next time I will use our 8 quart.

Instant Pot Apple Butter

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups chopped apples* (about 3 pounds)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Peel, quarter and core apples, then chop up. Measure after chopping.

Add the apples and water to the Instant Pot. Put on cover and seal according to directions. Set “manual” (or “pressure cook”) for 8 minutes.

Once done, let pressure release naturally for 20 to 30 minutes. If your Instant Pot has the “keep warm” setting on, hit “cancel” to turn off.

Place a clean kitchen towel over the steam valve and hit release to let any leftover steam out (the pot must release naturally or the applesauce will bubble up into the valve).

Take off the lid, turn onto “saute”.

Using a potato masher, mash up the apple butter. Add in the sugar and spices, stir in.

Let cook down for a few minutes, until it is bubbling and mounds on a spoon.

To water bath can:

Add 3 pint mason jars to a canning pot, fill jars with water, then the pot about half full. Bring to a boil while apple butter is in the steam release period.

Place the lids and rings into a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer.

When apple butter is ready, drain jars and place on a clean kitchen towel.

Sterilize a ladle, canning funnel and air bubble remover in the boiling water.

Fill with hot apple butter, leaving a ¼” headspace.

Run the bubble popper in each jar.

Wipe the rims with a new damp paper towel.

Place a drained lid on each jar, then finger tighten the rings.

Place the jars into the kettle, lower the rack in. Make sure the jars are covered with water.

Bring to a boil, process for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars, let cool on a towel covered rack.

Remove rings, check that each lid is flat and sealed.

Mark contents on lid, use within a year.

Makes about 3 pints.

~Sarah

Lower Sugar Orange Jelly

The best product for canning I have found is something so simple: Pomona’s Pectin. Years ago when I found it I first thought of it as a bit fussy, only because it added another step. Later on I wised up and realized that tiny step opened up a world of canning I couldn’t do otherwise. And what was that? Being able to make jams and jellies with a lot less sugar than conventional pectin. Consider that if one made this recipe using “mainstream” pectin it would call for at least 7 cups sugar. The recipe here calls for ONE CUP. You can go as low as ¾ cup if you desire. I suggest tasting your juice to see how sweet it is, and adjust off of that. If 1 cup isn’t sweet enough, you can go up to 2 cups sugar. Which is still considerably less than regular pectin. The other benefit is that Pomona’s doesn’t contain preservatives.

Side note: Pomona’s can be used with Stevia in many recipes, see their website for recipes.

Lower Sugar Orange Jelly

Ingredients:

4 cups freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
2 tsp calcium water*
¼ cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp Pomona’s Pectin powder

Directions:

Place jars in canner, fill jars with water and canner ½ full with water, bring to a boil. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan; cover and heat to a simmer.

Measure strained juice into a large sauce pan.

Add calcium water and lemon juice, and mix well.

Measure sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sugar.

Bring juice to a full boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.

Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Place a lif on, then a ring, tightened finger tight. Put filled jars back in canning kettle, bring water to a boil, making sure jars are covered. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals, lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

Notes:

Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Makes 4 to 5 cups (I filled 5 jars).

Recipe borrowed from Pomona’s Pectin website.

Homemade Oreos

These are indulgent cookies. Nothing redeeming about them except for the delicious flavor! Your children will love you for making them.

Homemade Oreos
Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg

Buttercream Frosting –

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Milk, as needed (used 5 tsp)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer beat the sugar and butter till fluffy, add the egg, and beat till smooth.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients slowly, until fully mixed, turning up the speed on the mixer as needed. Scrape as needed. The dough will be firm.

Using a 1 Tablespoon disher, scoop out balls. Drop 12 at a time on the prepared baking sheets and gently flatten each cookie with your palm.

Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies will still appear a bit wet but will harden up upon cooling. Let sit for 5 minutes, transfer to a cooking rack gently, using a metal spatula.

Frosting –

In a stand mixer bowl, whip the butter and shortening, until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. When fully incorporated, beat the vanilla in, and enough milk to be spreadable.

To finish –

Spread the frosting on half of the cookies. Gently press a second cookie on top to spread the frosting between the two cookies. Let sit to harden up. Store covered.

Makes approximately 16 to 18 finished cookies.

Note:

If you are having a rushed day, you can cheat and use canned frosting. I won’t judge.

~Sarah

Canned Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are so good in and on recipes. Three jars will keep the pantry stocked for quite some time. If you are concerned you won’t use a pint up in time, you can can them in in half pint jars as well.

Pickled Red Onions

Brine Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3½ Tbsp kosher salt

Onion Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red onions
  • 1¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 3 dried bay leaves

Directions:

Slice off ends of onions, peel off outer layer. Cut in half, thinly slice onions. Put onions in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the 1¾ tsp salt on and gently mix with tongs. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put 3 pint jars in a canning kettle, fill jars with water and the pot about halfway with water. Bring to a boil.

Add 3 new lids and rings to a small saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a simmer.

To make the brine, add all the brine ingredients into a tall saucepan, bring to a boil.

Take out the jars, drain and place on a clean kitchen towel. Sterilize a canning funnel, air bubble tool and a ladle in the boiling water.

Divide the peppercorns and bay leaves between the 3 jars.

Rinse the onions well, drain in a colander, shaking off any water. Divide between the 3 mason jars, packing in tightly.

Pour the hot brine over, using the air bubble tool to swish, adding more brine as needed to reach a ½” head space.

Wipe the rims with a clean damp paper towel.

Place a drained lid on top, put ring on finger tip tight.

Pace jars back in canning kettle, bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.

Take out, let cool on the counter. Check for lids being down (if any do not seal, put in refrigerator and consume within 2 weeks)

Makes 3 pints. Use within a year.

~Sarah

Canned Orange Juice

Canning citrus juice is an open ended recipe. Squeeze as much as you wish, and strain as much of the pulp out to your preference. I used 12 cups juice, which produced 6 pints worth. My smaller canning kettle holds 7 pints, but I ran out of navel oranges to squeeze.

Is canning OJ worth your time? Maybe. Maybe not. I had gotten a deal on navel oranges and the supplies to do it. I like having juice around for the rare times I serve it (often when a kid is sick). I find if I buy a big container at the store, it gets sucked down. And none of us need that much sugar. A pint is enough for the two boys with no leftovers. And more so, I know what is in it. 100% juice and no sketchy “flavor packets” that commercial orange juice has added. And well….it gives you shelf stable juice, in glass!

Canned Orange Juice

Ingredients:

  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Pint mason jars, new lids and rings

Directions:

Add rings and lids to a small saucepan and fill ¾ with water. Bring the small pot to a simmer, take off heat.

Place clean canning mason jars in a canning kettle, fill jars with water, and the pot about half full. Bring to a boil.

Add orange juice to a tall saucepan or stockpot. Heat over medium until it registers 190°, watch it so it doesn’t boil.

Lay out a clean kitchen towel on counter, drain jars and place on towel. Dip funnel and ladle into boiling water to sterilize.

Pour hot orange juice into jars, leaving ½″ head space. Take a new damp paper towel, wipe the rim of each jar. Place a lid on top, then a ring, hand tightening on. Place jars in canning rack, lower into canning pot. Turn heat up to high, bring to a rolling boil (make sure the jars are fully covered with water – if not, add in some of the reserved hot water from the pan used for the lids). Once boiling, process for 10 minutes for pints. Remove from pot, let cool on a dry towel overnight, listening for the ping sound as they cool.

Test lids by pressing gently and making sure they are flat and do not bounce back up. If any do not seal, consume soon and keep refrigerated. For best long-term storage, take rings off jars, keep jars in a cool, dry and dark place, and use within a year. The juice will separate during storage. This does not affect it.

Chill and shake well before serving.

~Sarah