Friday, October 8, 2010

"Pick Me"-Up Apple Butter

Welcome back Jammers! Have you all entered the drawing for my first giveaway? Make sure to check the previous post for the details…who wouldn’t want a gift certificate for $35!

Gather round the hearth, I want to share my first experience in making apple butter with you. As I’ve mentioned before, I work an overnight shift so my hours are quite a bit different than most, okay, fine, I‘ll say it, I have a weird schedule, there. A weird person needs a weird schedule to complete the whole persona, LOL,just kidding. On weekends, I try to sleep like the rest of the house does, in bed by midnight and up around 7 or 8. It can be difficult for me, I usually fall asleep fine, it’s staying asleep for more then 3 or 4 hours that’s tough. So I typically am up around 4am or so on Saturday and Sunday mornings then I will REQUIRE a 3 hour nap by 2pm or so. It works out ok and I wouldn’t trade my work schedule for anything…it is perfect for me and the activities we are involved in, from home schooling to Boy Scouts. Anyway, this past Saturday morning I found myself up before 5am and I was sure I wasn’t going back to sleep any time soon. All of a sudden it came to me…head to the kitchen and get on it, girl! I opened the windows (great cross breeze in my kitchen), lit some candles, pulled out “the” book (remind me to tell you about what basically translates as my Kitchen Bible) and started washing jars. I plugged the music in to the portable speakers and I was set. It was a beautiful morning making my butters as the sun came up. I have already posted the pumpkin butter that I made first, that morning. My second batch was apple butter. I had high hopes and it came out delicious and just like I expected.

A cinnamon or vanilla candle is nice to have burning when you are working with apples. If you put it right on your work board the combined scent of the candle and the fresh apples is wonderful and quite invigorating. I had a tall glass of the apple juice while I was prepping the apples and with the windows open and the sun fully up it was a magical start to the day! That day, I chose to associate the properties of my apples with choices (they are used in many ways throughout different cultures and periods as tools for divination), health (haven’t you heard the old saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away?), and love (apple bobbing was originally for boys to bite into the apple of his true love, the girls had polished and marked the apples on the bottoms before floating them in the tub). The cinnamon was for power and spirituality, the allspice was for health and prosperity and the cloves were for health, kinship and love. One-half teaspoon of cloves has more antioxidants than one-half cup of cranberries or blueberries. I am naming my apple butter “Pick Me”- Up Apple Butter. Pick Me, obviously is for the love side. Apples were one of the main things used back in Victorian times for love charms. Did you ever twist the stem of an apple while chanting the alphabet and what ever letter you were on when the stem popped off was the first letter of the person’s name that you were going to marry? We did it all the time…oh the memories. Pick Me Up is for a big boost of good health from the apples, allspice, cloves and apple juice.

“Pick Me”-Up Apple Butter

4 pounds tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
2 cups unsweetened organic apple juice
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

Rinse apples in cool water and drain well. Core, peel and chop the apples. Preheat canner, sterilize jars and prepare the lids. In an 8 qt pan combine the apples and apple juice. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Press apples and juice through a fine meshed sieve. Return the pulp to the pan and stir in the sugar, butter, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 30 minutes. As the butter thickens, stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove pan from heat and skim off any foam. Fill hot sterilized jars with the jam, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean damp cloth and add the lids and rings and place jars in preheated canner. Bring canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Check the seal before storing. Use within 12 months.

Makes about 6 half pint jars.

Again, maybe it was the day or the energy that I was putting into my work that morning but this one came out absolutely PERFECT, just like the pumpkin did. I know my Mabert would be so proud. I am going to make sure she gets a jar of this for the holidays. There is one memory I would love to create in a jam or butter, hummm. I spent most Saturday nights with Mabert and Papa and would go to church every Sunday morning with her until I was about 11 or 12. Well, every Saturday night we would sit at the kitchen table and share “coffee” together while she prepared for her Sunday School lesson the next day. I would pretend to work in my bible too, underlining passages with a pencil, like she was doing. There was no rhyme or reason to which passages I chose to underline, I just remember underlining them because it seemed to add power to the words that were printed on the page. I didn’t really read the actual words it was more about marking it up so it looked used and worked in. We would have both had our baths, my bangs would be taped down and filled with Dippity-do and we would have on our matching “Grannie Gowns” which was a style, by the way, of nightgown as opposed to who actually made them, even though it was usually Mabert’s mom, my Grannie Winchester, that would have made mine. Anyway, she would have a small cup of hot coffee and a windmill cookie and my “coffee” was actually her blend of Russian Tea and a vanilla wafer or two. Every time I smell orange and clove combined I am instantly transported back to her kitchen on Saturday nights. Her Russian Tea was a blend of instant tea, Tang and cloves…I just saw Tang in the store, the other day, too. Has anyone out there seen a jam recipe that would be close to this?

Apple and Pumpkin Butters
 Have a great weekend everyone. I will try to get the next post done before Monday, which will be Lavender Jelly…it’s beautiful in the jar! Till then, remember to Be Blessed and Be Sweet!

Apple Butter on FoodistaApple Butter


Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

You've got to have a pantry the size of a minivan to store all your wonderful jams, jellies and butters! OMG my hubby's grandma used to make that instant tea with tang for us - it was so good for the first few sips then it quickly went downhill after that LOL!! The apple butter sounds delicious (I did not know about cloves antioxident properties! Love that!!) Next time apples are on sale I'm gonna get some & make this for sure :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to taste the pumpkin butter! I am learning so much from reading your blog. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!!

Alisa said...

Love the apple and pumpkin butter!I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I like what you have here.if you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget at the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!