Saturday, March 23, 2013

Granny Smith Working Overtime

Hello Food Lovers
I have been try to organize my time more carefully so I can get back into Blogging regularly as it has been a while.
I live in New Zealand and Autumn is just around the corner here for us, which is a reminder that our apple trees will be reaping some rewards for us.  Each year I enjoy canning 'Apple Butter' which I make from the apples on our trees.  Actually Apple Butter does not have any butter in it, just so you know, in case your have never made it or eaten it before.  One of the reasons it is called Apple Butter because when it is all processed and ready to be put in canning bottles the Apple Butter is smooth and creamy just like butter.  It is amazingly good and tastes just wonderful on bread or toast as a spread and also is great on crackers with a slice of brie or camembert, or just by itself on the crackers.  Next to canning sweet and spicy gherkins I enjoy making the Apple Butter the most.  If you have not tried itm you are really missing out on somethng sensational.  Granny Smith apples make the best Apple Butter of all in my humble opinion, but you can use Royal Gala or even wild apples.
Approximately 6 years ago I shared the recipe for it on my Food Blog that I always use, however I have two or three techniques but the following one I love the best. Be warned though, that this is not something that can be made in 5 minutes.  It is a step by step process but it is worth every single minute and I know you will be pleasantly surprised for all of you that have never tried it.  The key though I feel is to plan to make several large jars of it so you will always have plenty on hand until the next apple season.  You can just keep the sealed jars on a shelf in your cupboard, but once you open a jar of it to use, be sure to refrigerate it.  Keep in mind also that it can last months in the refrigerator once it has been opened. 
I thought I would post the full recipe once again for newcomers to my Food Blog.
I hope you will enjoy this delightful recipe for canning Apple Butter.
Enjoy the recipe, and I would love to know how your apple butter turns out!


4 lbs of good cooking apples (we use Granny Smith or Gravenstein)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water Sugar (about 4 cups, see cooking instructions)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Equipment Needed
1 wide 8-quart pan (Stainless steel or copper with stainless steel lining)
A food mill or a chinois sieve
A large (8 cup) measuring cup pourer
6-8 8-ounce canning jars
Preparing the Fruit
1.  Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.

First Stage of Cooking
2. Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Measure out the purée and add the sugar and spices3 Ladle apple mixture into a chinois sieve (or foodmill) and using a pestle force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below. Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

The above is a chinois sieve

 The above is a food mill
You can use either for this canning recipe

Second Stage of Cooking
4. Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth when a bit is spooned onto a cold plate and allowed to cool (1 to 2 hours). You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

5. There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

6. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.
As an alternative to stove cooking the puree you can cook uncovered in a microwave, on medium heat to simmer, for around 30 minutes.

Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.  You can adjust the recipe to make larger quantities.  I usually use large jars, and several of them for storing.

A Lovely Recipe Using Your Homemade Apple Butter

Baked Prosciutto and Brie with Apple Butter Recipe
Courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: Food 911 Episode: Texas Tea Party
1 loaf crusty French bread
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup apple butter
16 thin slices prosciutto
about 1/4 pound 2 pears or apples, thinly sliced
1 pound Brie, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut 16 (1/2-inch thick) slices out of the loaf. Butter each side of the slices and put them onto a baking sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon of apple butter onto each slice. Top this with 1 slice of prosciutto and 3 or 4 slices of pear or apple. Cover this with the Brie slices, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Hugs From Patricia


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