The limbs of the apple trees are heavy with fruit, shiny in the pouring rain. They’re beautiful red globes of sweetness.
I couldn’t help but stop our car on the country road leading back to my parents’ house and capture the essence of early autumn.
For yes — early autumn to me is September.
When the apples are ripe for picking — there are a million ways to enjoy their sweetness. Apple cakes and crisps, pies and tarts, muffins and breads, raw and baked.
But there’s something so cozy and homey and like the adopted grandmas of my youth when I think about an old-fashioned apple butter.
There isn’t a better way to celebrate the season than by making a batch of a Pennsylvania Dutch favorite … Apple Butter. And there isn’t an easier way than in your slow cooker. Imagine waking up to the sweet aroma of baked apples on any fall or winter morning. I promise, it will become a tradition.
Apple butter was a popular way of using apples in colonial America and continued well into the 19th century. The term ‘butter’ refers only to the thick, soft consistency, and apple butter’s use as a spread for breads. Typically seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, and other spices, apple butter is usually spread on bread, used as a side dish, an ingredient in baked goods, or as a condiment. The Pennsylvania Dutch often include apple butter as part of their traditional seven sweets and seven sours dinner table array.
8 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks (I love to use a combination of apples that include; Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Gala)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients into a 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours, overnight is a perfect time and it’s wonderful to wake up to that aroma wafting through your kitchen.
Stir as needed.
After about 10 hours, remove lid of the slow cooker and change temperature to HIGH. Cook uncovered an additional 1/2 to 2 hours until thickened and dark brown. Press mixture through a fine sieve, using the back of a spoon.
Spoon into sterilized jars, cover, and chill up to a week. Will yield about 2 cups.
Serving Note: Apple is wonderful served on toast or English muffins, with chicken or pork, or on deli sandwiches. I love to have this with a fresh turkey sliced sandwich. Enjoy.