15 December 2010

2nd Day of Christmas

Don't Read this if you are my Mom, Dad, or Sister :)
 Welcome to the second day of holiday posts :)
This year, my family and I are giving presents that are either homemade or recycled (meaning something we already own or find at a thrift store). I'm a pretty good cook, so making homemade food items seemed like the most logical thing for me to do (hence the infused vodka from yesterday). I'm putting together a whole baskets of treats for my sister and parents, so you can expect a few more fun holiday-themed edibles. Today, I'm going to share a recipe for apple butter.

Preserves make a great holiday present, because they're food (and who doesn't love food?) but they don't have to be consumed right away- meaning that your gift will stick around for awhile instead of being eaten and forgotten about by boxing day. I don't know about you, but I'd rather get a jar of jam or salsa or tomato sauce over a plate of cookies any day.

A lot of preserves are surprisingly easy too, like this apple butter recipe. I had most of the ingredients on hand already (I only had to buy apples and a couple medium sized jars from goodwill- about 7$ altogether for two gifts- that's what I'm talking about!) and the cooking isn't very involved- you basically just let everything boil on the stove until it turns into apple butter :)

The recipe below is for 1 batch, which is about 2.5 cup or so. I didn't measure, but it filled up one medium-smallish jar with some left over. Feel free to double the recipe if you need more- I ended up making it twice because I had to fill two different jars.

Apple Butter
2 pounds apples (a variety of types is best- I used granny smith and pink lady the first time and granny smith and braeburn the second time)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Start by sterilizing your jars. Do this by putting the jars and lids in a large pot, filling the pot with water, and then putting on the stove to boil. Once the water is boiling, let boil for 10 minutes. Then, remove from heat but keep jars and lids in the water until you are ready to use them.
Meanwhile, peel, core, and chop up the apples.
Put the apple in a medium saucepan along with the vinegar and water. Let boil for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and mashing with a fork.
 When the apples are mostly a mushy applesauce texture with only a few lumps, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Continue to boil an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apple butter is thick.
For very smooth apple butter, allow to cool slightly and puree in a blender or with a stick blender. When apple butter is the desired consistency, remove jars from the water and fill 1/2 inch from the top. Put the lid on very tightly. Return the filled jars to the water and return to a boil. Boil an additional ten minutes.
I'm pretty sure that if you buy your own canning jars they will come with instructions as to how to check that your jars have been properly sealed. I bought mine at goodwill, so I have no such instructions... so, just to be safe, I froze my sealed jars and will thaw them in the fridge before I give them. This also means I don't have any pretty pictures of them al decorated to be given... but I'll fix that later :)

I'll be back tomorrow with another fun craft/recipe/something else holiday-y 

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