Years ago, I got my first taste of apple butter (at Joe Huber’s restaurant in Starlight, Indiana, so it was not “Kentucky” apple butter), and I was hooked. Fortunately for me, my grandmother started making apple butter herself soon after that. Hers tasted a bit different than Joe Huber’s, and it was only later that I realized there are regional (and, possibly, even state to state) differences in the way apple butter is made.
Still, no matter where it comes from, apple butter is a delicious treat to have at breakfast or any other time of the day. Here’s a fabulous Kentucky apple butter recipe, which is very similar to the one my grandmother used to make.
- 5 pounds chopped McIntosh apples
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tbspn ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 (1-pint) canning jars with lids and rings, as needed
- Place apples in a large pot and cover them with water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened (5 to 10 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- Press apples through a food mill to separate seeds, cores, and skin from apple pulp.
- Transfer pulp to a bowl.
- Stir together white and brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg into the apple pulp.
- Pour the apple mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
- Bake for 2 to 4 hours, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan every 20 to 30 minutes, until the apple butter is red and thickened.
- Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
- Fill the hot, sterilized jars with the apple butter, to within 1/4 inch of the top.
- Run a knife or thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue.
- Put the lids on the jars and screw on the rings.
- Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water.
- Bring to a boil and lower the jars into the boiling water, using a holder.
- Leave a 2-inch space between the jars.
- Pour in more boiling water, if necessary, to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars.
- Bring to a rolling boil, cover the pot, and process for 30 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the stockpot and place them, several inches apart, onto a cloth-covered or wood surface until cool.
- Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down).
- Store in a cool, dark area.
Now, admittedly, this isn’t an easy recipe, but it’s worth every minute and every ounce of effort. If you try it, I’d love to know what you think about it, so be sure to leave a comment!
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