Monday, September 30, 2013

Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

We don't have apple trees, but we have friends that have apple trees, and there seems to be an excess of apples this year. We sure don't mind taking the overflow off their hands! Apples are one of my favorite foods - whether fresh and crisp for a snack or baked in a pie or in this case, made into a luscious, healthy spread for toast, crackers, or whatever. It is especially good on biscuits, or on a bagel with cream cheese!

What I really like about making apple butter is:

1. You don't have to peel the apples
2. You just throw everything in the crock pot and let it do its thing
3. It has rum in it
4. It uses a lot of apples!

This stuff packs a big nutritional punch in a small serving, and it is so darn tasty. I'm glad I was able to jar some of it because I know I'll want more and more as the season goes on and the apples aren't so plentiful anymore.

My apples were all different sizes, and I used Granny Smith because that is what I was given. I just cored them and chopped them into big pieces and filled my crock pot with them. I'd say I used a good 10 apples. Then I added about a cup of apple cider (from our local orchard) and maybe a half cup of spiced rum. I just splashed this stuff in there, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I set it on low. I also threw in 3 vanilla bean pods, and after the first hour I took them out, seeded them, and added the vanilla seeds to the apples. I did it this way because I wanted the steam to soften the pods before I cut them open. I get my vanilla pods off amazon, but you can also use vanilla paste or just vanilla extract. I really like the seeds though.

Then it just sits for about 8 hours! It cooks down, and makes your house smell ridiculously good.

Then you have to tilt the lid on the crock pot, and cook it for another 5-6 hours on low or until it is getting to be a thick paste. Then you can go at it with either an immersion blender, or put it in a food processor to grind it all up and make it smooth. I used my immersion blender. 

After cooking for just a few hours

After cooking 8 hours!

Pureed and ready for eating, or canning

Little jars of goodness

I then canned all but about a cup - and got 6 - 4oz jars. They will also make great gifts this holiday season :).

The rest was spread on baguettes and crackers, and I still have some left in our fridge for snacking. Sometimes, I just go in the fridge with a spoon and have a nice taste of fall.

Vanilla Rum Apple Butter

About 10 apples - enough to almost fill a crock pot after being cored and made into hunks
1 cup of apple cider
1/2 cup of spiced rum
3-4 vanilla pods, or vanilla paste, or vanilla extract (I'd say 2 teaspoons)

Core apples and hunk them up and put them into your crock pot. Add cider, rum, and vanilla pods. If your vanilla pods are already pretty supple you can slice them open and get the "caviar" out and add it to the apples. If they are kind of dry like mine let them steam in the crock pot for an hour or so before doing this. Alternately, add about a tablespoon of vanilla paste, or a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours. Then tilt the lid so steam can escape and cook for another 5 hours or so on low. Puree the apples with an immersion blender or food processor and either enjoy fresh or can for later!

 If canning, spoon the hot apple butter into jars that have been prepped (either boiled or put through the dishwasher to sanitize), place the hot lids on and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool.


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