I love apples. It has been a life long love affair, which makes sense given that I am from Washington, a state that is known for producing apples. I have always wanted to go to an apple orchard and pick my own, but since the orchards are mostly on the east side of the mountains and I am on the west side, I have never been. Today I settled for picking out several types of apples at the grocery store, which was a pretty good substitute. I thought the variety would add a nice depth of flavor, and if nothing else they were pretty to look at.
I sliced all of the apples with my XOXO apple slicer and corer, one of my favorite kitchen gadgets I didn’t even know I needed until I started my current job and found one in every kitchen in our office. It is an amazingly convenient device, and I don’t have to worry about the knife slipping while I cut apples anymore.
I placed all of the sliced apples in a large pot and filled it most of the way with water. I think you are supposed to cover the apples with water, but I sort of overshot on the amount of apples that would fit in the pot, so I almost covered them and just waited for the apples to reduce a bit, which they did the longer I simmered them.
The the waiting begins. I put the heat on high and boiled the apples for about an hour or so, at which point I turned the heat down to low and simmered for 4 hours. At this point I added cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I don’t ever measure spices that aren’t going to add a ton of heat, so I basically just shook the containers until it felt like the right amount. This comes with practice, and I know by feel how much spice I am going to want by this point.
At this point, I waited for the apples to cool a bit and then transfered them to the blender to blend out the chunks. I had to do this in two batches to avoid over filling the blender. Be careful when blending warm liquids, the heat of the blender makes them prone to exploding out of the blender, unless you have a Vitamix (which I unfortunately don’t).
At this point, the only thing left to do is simmer some more. I put the mixture back in the pot and simmered it on low heat for an hour, and the “warm” setting on my burner for another half an hour until the mixture had reached the consistency of apple butter.
In total this took me about 5 hours but most of that was the simmering time, which requires a very low level of involvement, just some stirring every once in a while. It made the apartment smell wonderful, and now I have enough apple butter to eat with toast, oatmeal, soy ice cream, or just with a spoon for a couple weeks at least.
What is your favorite thing to make with apples? Do you prefer apple sauce, apple butter or something else altogether?