It began years ago; so many I don’t know the exact number. Nana, Granddad, this backyard sister and her youngest backyard girl gathering on a day in the fall to make apple butter.
After the apples have been purchased and cleaned, and the peeler/corer/slicers and jars, have been dug out of storage, we are ready to get to work.
Those peeler/corer/slicers are nifty little gadgets and save a lot of time. When all peeled,cored and sliced the apples are placed on the stove to cook.
Once they are soft enough, everyone’s favorite part begins: whirring with the hand-held blender.
Sometimes it is a solitary task, and other times a helping hand is lent.
Or, a little moral support . . .
The spices are adjusted after the first taste test.
When it’s just right, it is placed in jars and the backyard girl gets a little treat.
The backyard girl, with her excellent penmanship, always gets the job of labeling.
The day yields some delicious apple butter to be shared and enjoyed for the next few weeks, and also a fantastic bonus for this backyard sister and her daughter of time well spent catching up, reminiscing, telling tales, laughing, listening to music and dancing. We are grateful Nana and Granddad are so generous with their time and kitchen skills (utensils too!) and I, for one, always come away with not only a treasure trove of jars filled with yummy apple butter but also the precious gems of new, fond memories made from the stories told and delights of watching granddaughter and grandparents sharing with each other. That just doesn’t happen every day; but it will tomorrow. Oh, and I also come away with lots of fun photos.
Here’s the recipe in case you would like to try it and see what develops . . .
NANA’S APPLE BUTTER RECIPE
Note: This recipe is adjustable for desired quantity and flavor. Any type of apple may be used. We choose a mix of tart and sweet. Canning jars are available at most supermarkets. They need only a thorough washing and drying before use in this refrigerated canning method.
We use two pans of eight quarts each.
16 lbs. apples, peeled and cored, divided equally in the pans.
5 lbs. Granny Smith
5 lbs. Fuji
6 lbs. Honey Crisp
Into each pan mix in:
3 level Tbs. Cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1 1/4 cups of Simply Apple brand apple juice.
Simmer each pan on stove covered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste as you go. Adjust spices to your taste. When apples become soft mash them with a potato masher, a wand mixer or whatever tool you have to smooth them to an apple butter consistency.
Yield: 14 large (16 oz.) jars.
Refrigerate after cooling.