One of my most popular recipes on the website is my homemade apple butter. It’s apple butter like grandma used to make and everyone who makes it or tries it sings its praises. But I have a confession to make. I’ve changed the recipe slightly! I came up with that recipe several years ago when I was still using white sugar, which I’ve now pretty much eliminated from our diets. Now, if I add any sugar at all to apple butter, it’s all natural sucanat. But if my apples are sweet enough, I skip it all together!
I decided to leave the original apple butter recipe alone (except for replacing the horrible picture with one of these prettier ones, wow has my photography improved!) for people who want to make it the traditional way. For those of you looking for a healthy apple butter recipe, this is the one!
Plus I had to share some photos of this photo shoot. I shot these within a few weeks of getting our kitten Haldir, and he was INCREDIBLY curious about what I was doing.
“Doot dooh dooh. Don’t pay any attention to me.”
“Is this food good for kitties?”
“This tablecloth is really fun to pull on.”
“Oooh what’s this? Something from the great outdoors I’m not allowed to explore?”
“I don’t think mommy will notice if I just borrow this for a little playtime.” Silly kitty, he can make my photography a lot more difficult at times!
This recipe makes about 8 pints of apple butter. Each pint is around 16 servings (2 TBS a serving). I love to make a couple extra batches to have on hand throughout the year to give away as birthday or hostess gifts whenever the occasion arises.
It’s also a great healthy snack option for kids. I’ve literally served it to thousands of kids at various festivals, and every single one who’s tried it has loved it. Unfortunately there are also the kids whose parents tell them, “Don’t try it, you won’t like it.” Kills me every time! I plan to let my kids try all sorts of foods from star fruit to sushi.
Sugar Free Apple Butter RecipePrep time: 2 hours Cook time: 30-40 hours Total time: 32-42 hours Yield: about 8 pints
apples, (I like fuji, jonagold or sweet sixteen)
- 2-4 tsp
- 1/4-1/2 tsp
ground all spice
- 1/2-1 tsp
- Start coring and slicing apples, dumping the slices into the crockpot as you go. Stop prepping apples when the crockpot is full (just save the remaining apples for later).
- Put the crock pot on low for 10 hours. Feel free to stir when you walk by!
- After 10 hours, add 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cloves. Mix well.
- Core and slice more apples to fill the crockpot. Dump the new apple slices into what’s already cooked down. Mix well. Cook another 10 hours on low.
- Repeat the process of adding more apples, mix, set the crockpot for another 10 hours.
- Taste test your apple butter and add more cinnamon, allspice and cloves to your taste.
- After it’s cooked a good 30-40 hours, use an immersion blender to puree it. (You could probably put through food mill or blender too but I find immersion blender the easiest).
- Continue cooking until apple butter is the thickness that you want. If it’s not cooking down enough vent the lid a little. If it gets too thick, add some water or apple juice.
- When you’re happy with the thickness, can apple butter using a *waterbath method.
Approximate cost/serving: I get 40lbs of apples for $15 from a local farm, that’s over 100 apples! That made my total cost about $3.40. It makes about 8 pints of apple butter, so only 43 cents a pint! I know! Cheap!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: Yes and yes! Vegan too.
*You can do a google search for waterbath canning to get lots of tips. I don’t have any special tools for canning. I use a big pot of water, rubber coated tongs to lift the jars (you can also just wrap some rubber bands around regular tongs), and a ladle to fill the jars. Basically, fill your biggest, tallest pot with water and bring to a boil. Place your empty jars and new lids (always use new, but can recycle rings) in the water for 5 minutes. Take them out, fill with apple butter to 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe the rims and place the lids on the jars. Screw on the rings and place in the boiling water. Boil them (this is processing) for 5-20 minutes using the chart below, making sure the water level covers the jars completely. Remove and set on a counter, don’t move them for 24 hours! Then press the center of the lid. If it doesn’t pop in (meaning it already has), it’s sealed and good to store for up to two years. If it does pop in, refrigerate it and use in a week.
Recommended process time for Apple Butter in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
0 – 1,000 ft
1,001 – 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints or Pints
source of time chart: pickyourown.org
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.