Can It Up: Slow Cooker Vanilla Rum Apple Butter
Posted on 12 October 2012
There’s apple butter on my ceiling.
That’s the issue with making any kind of fruit butter on the stovetop. It gurgles; it burbles; it spits. It gets in your hair. It tries to blind you. At a minimum, you get burned. A lot.
That’s the beauty, I learned while making a second batch, of apple butter in the slow cooker. It’s never hot enough to burble. Your hair remains clean; your eyes undamaged. You are likely to emerge unscathed!
The downside is, of course, that it takes freaking forever. After 7 hours in the slow cooker, the apple butter was still not thick enough. I unplugged the slow cooker, put the insert with apple butter in the fridge, and waggled off to bed…only to restart the process in the morning.
But this method warrants the sacrifice. Besides not getting burned — always a big plus — the slow cooker offers convenience. Since the heating element’s temperature is never above 170 degrees F on the low setting, I could have started this recipe just before bed and let it run overnight, which I am likely to do for the next batch. Despite last week’s snow and frosts, there are bushels of apples left on the backyard tree.
I researched various fruit butter methods before trying them myself (because research is how I roll). Initially, I tried cooking the apples with the skins on and later food-milling the result. Not so good and not so easy to mill. Then I tried peeling and coring the apples — which also took freaking forever — and preferred the resulting texture after food-milling. The best (and arguably easiest) method was to peel and core the apples and to use the immersion blender to puree the cooked product.
So, was all this labor worth it? Matt said yes. He asserted that the consequent flavors were well-blended, while also remaining distinct. He’s already consumed 3/4 of a jar straight; I’ve had to hide the remaining 7. I suspect that this butter will be requested every fall.
A fine kick-off to Can It Up.
Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which I am giving away over here.