Apple butter is one of my favorite treats for fall. I make a batch every year like clockwork, using my slow cooker to make it easy, and to avoid standing at the hot stove stirring for several hours. This year, however, I have found a way to make it even easier. This recipe still uses a slow cooker to do all of the work, just like my older Slow Cooker Apple Butter recipe. The difference in this recipe, however, is that instead of peeling and chopping all of the apples myself, I start with a big jar of prepared applesauce. I know, I know, it isn’t 100% from-scratch, and not peeling and chopping those apples somehow seems like a bit of a cheat, but trust me, this shortcut is downright practical when you are short on time or energy.
Normally, I make an event out of picking up some fall apples to make apple butter, and also pie filling. This month, however, life was just not going to let that happen. It's just been one of those times when I’ve been really busy, and lots of other, more important things have needed my attention. That’s just the way life is sometimes. I just haven’t been able to find the time to pick apples, or make my apple butter totally from scratch, but I still didn't want to miss out on one of my fall favorites. I had a few jars of applesauce already in the pantry, so I decided to try out this shortcut, and actually, it came out totally delicious! I mean, when you think about it, making apple butter with fresh apples really just means that you are making applesauce, and then taking it a step further by adding spices and cooking it down until it is nice and thick. And while you could go ahead and can this apple butter, you could also just make this extra-easy by just cooling it down and popping it right into the fridge.
Don’t wait, make a batch of this right away. It’s a great seasonal preserve to have on-hand. Use it on biscuits or toast, in pumpkin-apple butter pie, or even as a glaze on meat. I like to think of apple butter as the fall alternative to pumpkin spice flavor!
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 (46-ounce), or 2 (24-ounce) jar unsweetened applesauce (store-bought, or home-canned)
- 1 ½ cups sugar (I use half brown sugar, half cane sugar)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of salt
- Add all of the ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the applesauce has turned a caramel color. Remove the lid half way, and cook on high for another 2-3 hours, until the sauce has thickened, and has become dark brown in color. Taste and add more sugar or spices, if needed.
- Ladle the apple butter into clean jars, and store in the refrigerator. You could also can in a boiling water bath canner, processing for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude, if needed). For instructions on water bath canning, visit Fresh Preserving or The National Center for Home Food Preservation.