my apple butter has a theme song…
I knew when it was announced that I could play in the apple orchard for this month’s can jam that I’d want something deep and heady. Because this is such a crazy month full of reflection and obligation, I just had to return to the ease and simplicity that Marisa introduced me to last year in her Apple Sauce/Fruit Butters posts.
With the framework in place, I wondered how I could make that inner voice of mine, aka “Can’tLeaveWellEnoughAlone,” happy. What could I do to give it something extra? Oh, Cardamom, is that you calling my name? I could see Cumin and Coconut dancing in the corner of my eye. Ginger cried, “me, too.”
I went to the Farmers’ Market and found apples, apples and more apples. Then, I stopped off to pick up a few things at TJs. I had all kinds of plans and ideas. Yeah. Trader Joe’s said, “Change ‘Em!”
Um, couldn’t find plain apple cider. And when given a choice between plain old apple juice and spiced cider, well, duh. And OMG, was it full of spice, deep dark tones and even a little heat. Everything I wanted and more. There were citrus notes, too.
So, yeah. Lazybones. I wasn’t going to have to do a lot of tinkering to spice up my apple butter.
Lazybones Spiced Apple Butter
(Loads of Gratitude and Heaps of Thx to Marisa of Food In Jars)
4lbs of apples
1 c trader joe’s spiced apple cider
1 ½ – 2 c brown sugar
Creamed Coconut *
Peel, core and quarter apples.
In a heavy bottomed pan, add apples and juice.
With flames quite low, let apples fall apart into an apple sauce. The different varieties will break down differently and release varying amounts of liquid. Let it do what it does.
While there’s still some texture, aka still a little lumpy, I like to add sugar and a tablespoon or so of lemon juice just to see how the flavors are coming together. Add chunk of creamed coconut that is approximately equal to a teaspoon. Sprinkle in a few whole cumin seeds. Say 10. Add a shake or two of cinnamon and a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger. Remember the apple cider was seriously spiced with warming goodness. And it’s all about how you want it to taste. I tend toward the heavy hand.
Keeping the flame low as possible, let it cook down for another hour or so. Stir, occasionally.
(This is when I get a bit tired or my mind starts to wander.)
Take it off the stove. Let it cool down. Fridge it for a day or more.
(I could say that I wanted the flavors to blend and to mellow, but, well, no.)
Whenever you decide to ummm… get back to it.
Pull out your bowl of sauce/almost butter. Allow to warm to room temperature.
Blend apples in batches until smooth.
Taste and adjust.
Put it back on the stove on lowest temp. Cook down until thick and spreadable. Be mindful not to burn.
Wash and sterilize jars. Pack and water-bath process for 15 minutes.
Yield varies: I got 3 .25L jars of Lazybones Spiced Apple Butter from around 4 lbs of apples.
TheNikkiBits: I used a combination of apples: Arkansas Black, Fuji and Gala. The coconut and cumin add to the depth of flavor, but don’t scream out. And who knows, I may have thrown a few habanero bits in there as well. You know the problem with CLWEA is that I don’t always remember everything I throw in there. That is one of the great things about this recipe is that you can really do what works for you as you figure out flavors that make your belly sing.
What’sNext: I can’t wait to have this with the chicken and dressing for the holiday or maybe for leftovers.
So grateful for what this year of canning continues to bring. Hope the season starts off well for you.
*this isn’t the brand that I use. Check your local South Asian or Caribbean grocery to see if they stock it. I buy mine for $2 a bar at the Bangladeshi spot around the corner.