Ever since the new year began, I’ve been thinking of ways to make my life easier, especially when it comes to picking out the perfect present. With two kids under the age of four, I don’t exactly have time to leisurely peruse the hottest stores in Columbia (or any stores for that matter). I need something quick and easy that folks will love.
With this in mind, I have been on the lookout for simple, wholesome, homemade gifts I can make for friends and family. If the item can be made in bulk and the ingredients do not cost an arm and a leg, even better.
One such item is Crock-Pot Apple Butter. Not only is the apple butter crazy easy to make, you can double or even triple the recipe! Put the “butter” in mason jars, wrap some string around it, and you have yourself a lovely homemade gift!
Crock-Pot Apple Butter
I used a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp. As a personal preference, I used organic apples and left the skin on since it contains lots of nutrients.
6½ pounds apples cored and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place the apples in a crock-pot. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Pour the mixture over the apples and stir well to evenly coat.
Cook on low overnight for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown. Uncover, stir in vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours. The mixture will be ready to blend when you stir it and don’t notice big chunks of apple peel and/or when the apple peels rip easily when pulled apart.
If you have an immersion blender, blend the apple mixture directly in the crock-pot until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully scoop the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into mason jars and allow them to cool on your counter before refrigerating. Enjoy on toast, pork, biscuits or by the spoonful. Decorate with fun labels, twine and a homemade note from your little ones and you have the perfect gift! Apple butter lasts up to three weeks in the fridge.