This year, Lulu’s apple tree went crazy! We had tons of apples in the middle of the summer. They weren’t very big at first, but there were so many that we needed to do something about it. They were small and tart yet perfect and beautiful. Over the years, I have found Northwest gardening can be very strange…We got our fall apples super early yet my heirloom tomatoes didn’t seem to ripen until mid-September. Regardless of the unpredictability of our gardens, there is nothing quite like picking fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs from your yard and feeding your family with them.
For someone like me it’s hard not to just make apple cake and tortes and crisps and everything in between…but a lot of baking recipes don’t use enough fruit to get you through your bounty before things start taking a turn for the worse…so this was the year it was time to make apple butter.
I wanted to find an apple butter recipe that could go straight to the fridge or freezer, no hardcore canning skills required. Something easy like my mom’s strawberry freezer jam. The crazy part is this recipe was even easier! Throw apples, sugar, and some spices of your choice in a slow cooker. Turn on. Walk away. Maybe stir it every few hours if you are feeling crazy. The biggest effort you have to make is coring, peeling, and dicing your apples. If you have a spiralizer, your job just got way easier.
This recipe is very adaptable, depending on what kind of apples you use. You can choose to add more of less sugar depending on how tart your apples are, and no one is going to get mad if you decide to add some nutmeg or allspice to your mix. Right now we are spreading our apple butter on toast and mixing it into greek yogurt. I’ll update you with more ideas down the line!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
By Baked Northwest
Makes 4 (12 oz) containers of Apple Butter
- 5 pounds of apples; peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 cups of sugar (can use more or less here, depending on how sweet your apples are)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
Place the apples in a slow cooker. If you have a 6 quart slow cooker like me, it will be very full. Don’t worry – the apples will cook down by more than half. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a bowl and pour mixture over the apples in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cover and cook on high for one hour.
Reduce the heat to low, stir mixture again, and cook for another 9 hours. This can be done overnight, but I found I liked being able to stir my apple butter every few hours during its low cook time, I think it made the mixture smoother in the end. At the end of about 9 hours the mixture should be thickened and dark brown. You should be able to stir the mixture and have a great consistency without having to use a blender or anything.
Turn off the slow cooker and spoon apple butter into sterile containers. Refrigerate or freeze. You should definitely give some to friends as well.