I had some family in town so I figured why not put them to work! Apples were at a great price locally, so I picked up 30 pounds of a mix of gala, pink lady, braeburn, macintosh, and honeycrisps.
My process for making applesauce and butter is documented in previous posts.
One big difference from last year’s efforts was my new crock pot. I bought a bigger fancier one at a black Friday sale last year and hadn’t done apple butter in it till now. It is a quart or two larger than my last and the settings seem to be a lot hotter than my old crock pot. The apple butter was easily cooked down by the next day and a fairly full pot yielded a little over 13 half-pint jars. My canner can only hold 13, so all is right with the world.
The 30ish pounds of apples gave me 9 pints of sauce and 13 half-pints of butter. In reality I could probably fill another jar of each, but those are the limits of my canner. The remainder always goes in the fridge and gets eaten in short order.
I am getting better at batch processing food for canning. There was a nice swing of chop-boil-mill going on yesterday Apples are on sale here so we went to our local produce market and stocked up with 37 pounds of galas, pink lady, braeburns, fujis, and honey crisps. I was going for 50 pounds, but stopped when the box they gave us was getting pretty full. Good thing too, my sink can’t hold any more!
I made a previous post detailing how I make applesauce and apple butter, so see that if you want instructions. I filled up the crock pot for butter, and jarred the rest. In all 37 pounds of apples produced a full crock pot (4 quarts of sauce -> 10 half-pints of butter) and 7 quarts of applesauce (a very full stock pot!). This is a good size because my crock pot was full, and my canner only holds 7 quart jars. Next time I have a weekend at home I can use a few sauce jars to make more butter. Hooray for fall!
Based on my previous few attempts I am producing 1 quart of sauce for just under 3 pounds of apples. 50 pounds would get me a full crock pot and two rounds of quart jars in my canner. That would be a full afternoon!
Earlier I turned a pile of pink lady apples into sauce. Half the sauce got canned and the other half went into the crock pot. View post here on making applesauce.
The directions I originally got had the whole process taking less than 12 hours. My first attempt took over a day. They had recommended going low and being really careful not to burn the apple butter. My crock pot was obtained well used (thanks mom!) at a garage sale when I got my first apartment. It is old, at least one decade, and maybe multiple. At any rate, it appears to run at a lower temp than the Pick Your Own directions would indicate. Your mileage may vary.
- Fill crock pot 2/3 full with applesauce, add 1-2 cups sugar and cinnamon to taste.
- Add remaining applesauce till crock is full.
- Set crock pot to High with lid propped up to let moisture out, stir occasionally.
- If you leave the house or go to bed, set to Low with lid still propped.
- Sauce will darken and reduce in volume. Keep going till the desired consistency is achieved.
My crock pot took about 9 hours on high through the day, and then another 8 or so on low over night. In the morning it looked pretty done. I left it on low till I could eat breakfast and get around to canning. It seems pretty forgiving on time, so don’t stress.
The sugar can be varied or removed all together if you are looking for a sweeter or healthier spread. Cinnamon is a personal preference, but I used probably 2 tablespoons.
This batch yielded 9 half pint jars of apple butter. Minus the numerous sample scoops I took for quality control… and breakfast. The sound of jars sealing once out of the bath is a sound of pure joy! Happy little pops as the seal comes down.
Freshly made applesauce
20 hours later.. APPLE BUTTER! And a good smelling house.
Place in jars and boil 5 minutes
9 half pints later