© Denzil Green
Apple Butter contains no actual butter. It is a thick fruit spread usually made from apples, apple juice or cider cooked down into a thick jam-like spread. It is flavoured with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, typically sweetened with large amounts of sugar, though sugar-free versions are also made.
Apples naturally contain a large amount of pectin, which naturally thickens the spread as it is boiled down. Additional pectin is generally needed only for quicker recipes that don't have the long, slow-cooking times needed to release the natural pectin. Generally, the apples are cooked slowly for a long enough time so that they fall to moosh by themselves, or they are sieved or food processed.
Apple Butter can be light or quite dark, depending on whether white sugar or brown sugar is used, whether some molasses has been added, and whether the apples were cooked in their own juice, or in added apple juice or apple cider.
The resulting product is bottled, with the jars subsequently processed in a boiling water bath for preserving.
Commercial versions are available.
Apple Butter is more widely known in North America than it is in the UK.
© Denzil Green
Here is a recipe for Reduced Sugar Apple Butter.
"Varieties that are good for making applesauce and apple butter include: Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Stayman, Jonathan, Gravenstein and McIntosh." (( Elizabeth L. Andress. 2016rev. Apples are Peaking; Choose the Best Preservation Method. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension. Accessed July 2016 at .http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/apples.html ))
Literature & Lore
Making a fourteen-gallon batch of the essence is a day-long job. By six in the morning a wood fire is roaring under the old-fashioned thirty-gallon kettle in which the cider is waiting. This is boiled down to half its original quantity, then the applesauce added and for six hours the mixture is stirred, and constantly, by means of an old-time wooden paddle with a ten-foot handle. After that the sugar is added, for this the dark-brown, a half pound per gallon. Then the sampling begins to determine the proper consistency. By late afternoon the essence is finished and packed into glass jars to keep indefinitely, if given the chance." -- Paddleford, Clementine (1898 - 1967). Food Flashes Column. Gourmet Magazine. November 1947.
Apple butter being made in a large vat
© Phaedra Wilkinson / Morguefile.com / 2006 / https://www.linkedin.com/in/phaedrawilkinson
JamsApple Butter; Apricot Jam; Cotignac; Guava Paste; Jams; Lemon Curd; Lime Curd; Marmalade; Marmelo; Papaya Jam; Pectin; Pumpkin Butter; Raspberry Jam
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