This Slow Cooker Apple Butter Is the Comfort Food You Need Right Now
Follow this recipe to make a delicious no-peel fruit spread in your slow cooker. Plus, how to sanitize and prep mason jars for preserving food.
Having a few jars of this healthy, no-added-sugar silky-sweet buttery fruit spread has been a lifesaver. Plus it’s a great way to use up the apples we picked every fall. No butter, peeling, or stirring involved. Using a slow cooker means you can sit back and relax while this is stewing. Eat it with a spoon, spread it on toast or pancakes, or pair it with something savory.
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Uses up apples, apple peels
Makes 3 or 4 canning jars (2 cups each)
Total time: 10 minutes (plus 5-6 hours in a slow cooker)
Keeps for several weeks in the fridge, or at least 1 year in the pantry if sealed using the hot-water bath method (see below)
Can substitute: apples with pears, apricots, or quince.
- 4 lb apples (about 12), quartered, with stems, cores, and seeds removed (use a combination of sweet and tart apples like Granny Smith with Honeycrisp) (see substitutions)
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cinnamon stick
- ½ vanilla bean, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
- Pinch salt
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- Lemon juice or orange juice
- Add the apples, water, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and salt to your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 5 hours, stirring and mashing the fruit halfway through the cooking time.
- Open the lid of the slow cooker and cook for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mixture darkens and most of the liquid evaporates. It should look nice and saucy. Check and stir occasionally.
- Let cool slightly, remove the vanilla pod (save and wash for another use), cinnamon stick, and star anise (if using). Transfer to a food processor or blender. Blend until you have a buttery silky-smooth purée, emulsifying all those skins. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice if you like.
- If your apple butter is watery after puréeing, put it back in the slow cooker with the lid open for an extra 15 to 20 minutes (or in a saucepot over medium-low heat), stirring occasionally until thick. Transfer to clean jars, seal, label, date, and refrigerate.
Food 911: How to sanitize and prep canning jars
To sterilize your jars, boil in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes or run them through the hot cycle in a dishwasher. Heat the new lids in a pot of warm water, setting aside the jar bands. Keep the jars and lids warm until ready to use. Ladle your preserves with appropriate headspace (see www.bernardin.ca). Wipe the rim with a damp clean cloth, place the warm lids on the jars, and screw the jar bands on until you just meet resistance. Carefully submerge the jars in the boiling-water canner and process for the appropriate amount of time (see www.bernardin.ca). Transfer jars to a clean tea towel and do not disturb for 24 hours. Place any unsealed jars (top of the lid pops when pressed) in the fridge and use within the week.
Note that canning jars and bands/rings can be reused, but the lids need to be new.
Image: Penguin Random House Canada
Excerpted from Cook More, Waste Less by Christine Tizzard Copyright © 2021 Christine Tizzard. Photography © Reena Newman. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.