Tag Archives: Apple

Apple Cider Butter

Apple Cider Butter

So, what do you do when you get an email from one of your favorite U-pick fruit farms saying that they are closing for the season and offering buy-one-get-one 1/2 bushels of apples? If you are anything like us, you hightail it over to the farm before the apples are gone.

Fresh apples

That is just what we did last Friday. We put Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the car and drove up to Northborough to pick 40 pounds of apples. It was a little strange because the day was gray and cool and the orchard was almost empty… it didn’t feel like a typical apple picking outing. The apples, however, were fantastic; large, sweet, crisp, and delicious. I think Thing 1 ate five of them while we were picking.

Apples chopped and boiling down

Now that we have all these apples we have to figure out what to do with them. We usually cut and freeze slices for winter apple pies, make applesauce, and eat lots of them.  This season however, we are starting with apple butter. I have never made apple butter before but I really wanted something that went beyond our classic apple applications. This recipe uses fresh apples and apple cider to make a delicious apple butter that isn’t too heavily spiced. If you decide to make this fall treat, make sure to review the appropriate canning techniques, which can be found here.

Jars ready for processing

I followed the recipe pretty much as listed with some minor adjustments to the spices. The most important change I made was to keep the cores and peels on the apples for the first boil. I then used a food mill to remove the skins, seeds, and cores. The cores have a lot of pectin which helps the butter thicken nicely. However, when I did it this way I had no where near the required 12 cups of apple puree, despite using the 6lbs of apples called for in the recipe. Therefore, I have adjusted the recipe posted below to reflect my yields.

Apple Cider Butter

Adapted from Freshpreserving.com

6 lbs of apples, mixed varieties, quartered

2 cups apple cider

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground allspice

6-7* (8 ounce) glass preserving jars with bands and lids

To Make:

Combine apples and apple cider in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Using the fine disc of a food mill, puree the apples, discarding skins, seeds, and cores. Measure 8 cups of apple puree.

In a clean stainless steel saucepan, combine the apple puree, sugar, and spices and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture reduces, thickens, and holds it shape on a spoon.

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use (do not boil, especially the lids). Ladle hot apple butter into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove bubbles and wipe rim. Center lid on jar and apply band until it is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude). Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. For any jars that do not seal after 24 hours, either reprocess or place in the refrigerator and use.

* The total number of jars will depend on how thick you like your butter

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Apple Cheddar Risotto

A Hearty Fall Meal

A Hearty Fall Meal

Thanks to my new toy, I am on a bit of a risotto kick.  I am also thoroughly enjoying the fall weather that has come to New England.  This time of year always makes me start jonesing for winter squash, slow roasted meat dishes (especially pork), and all things apple. 

With a simple dinner of pan seared pork chops and roasted delicata squash planned, all that was missing was the apple.  We decided to be a little whimsical and turn the classic flavors of apple and cheddar pie into a rich, creamy risotto.  The combination of apples, aged English cheddar, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of cognac was fantastic.  It was both sweet and savory with a nice richness.  I made this in my pressure cooker so it was also quick and easy.  You can make this the conventional way as well, and I think it would definitely be worth the effort.

The makings of a delicious risotto

The makings of a delicious risotto

Apple and Cheddar Risotto

Ingredients:

1 tbls butter

1 small to medium apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/2 cup aborio rice

1 cup apple juice

2 tbls cognac (you could also use brandy or bourbon, if you want to omit the alcohol, make sure you replace the liquid with additional juice or water)

3 ounces cheddar cheese

2 tbls heavy cream

Dash of cinnamon

To Make:

In a sauce pan (or your pressure cooker) melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the apples and saute, stirring, until just starting to soften and caramalize.  Add the rice and continue to stir until the rice is light golden, about 3 minutes.  Add the apple juice and cognac, put the lid on the cooker, and bring to pressure.  If you are making the risotto the conventional way, make sure the liquid is heated and add slowly, one ladleful at a time.  Stir each infusion of liquid until it is completely absorbed before adding more. 

Once up to pressure, cook for 8 minutes.  Once the rice is tender, remove from heat and stir in the cheese, heavy cream, and the dash of cinnamon until creamy.

To Serve:

This amount serves 2-3 people (pretty hefty portions).  Serve alongside pork chops and roasted squash. This recipe can easily be doubled.

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Filed under Fruit, Recipes, Rice, Side Dish, Vegetarian