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Don't you just love the smell of apples and cinnamon? Oh, it makes the house smell so good! We love taking the kids out to the apple orchard and picking our own apples.
So what do you do with all those apples you picked? The possibilities are endless! Here's a recipe to use those apples in a couple of different ways.
We start out by making applesauce.
What you'll need:
Start out by cutting the apples into slices and remove the hard, inner cores. In a large pot, put in about an inch of apple juice. Add the apples and cinnamon to taste. I usually do a few shakes of the cinnamon shaker, then add more as it cooks if needed. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft.
A lot of people prefer to take the skins off at this point using a food mill, or sieve/grinder. But while I was on vacation in Nashville, Indiana I went into one of the country stores. The kind where the little old lady who was probably around when Johnny Appleseed came to town is in the back with the big kettle making the apple butter right there. Anyway, their apple butter was so delicious and she told me the secret was NOT to remove the peel. Who'd have thought? Since then, I always leave it on.
Next, I put the apples in the blender, filling it about 3/4 of the way full, and run it on "Chop". At this point, you have applesauce. Now, you can fill your jars and seal.
OR....make apple butter!
To make apple butter, pour your blended apples into the crockpot. Add one cup sugar to every four cups of apples. Then add cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Start out with a little bit of each and taste, adjust accordingly. The applesauce will need to cook for several hours, about 12 hours for a full crockpot. You don't need to worry about stirring it. After about 4-6 hours of cooking, add more sugar, at half the rate as before. So if you originally added two cups of sugar, add just one cup this time. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook. If your slow cooker has "hot spots", you will need to stir occasionally. After 10-12 hours of cooking, you're ready to pour into jars and seal.
To seal applesauce or apple butter, fill jars within 1/4" of top, wipe down rims and apply lids and rings. Place in boiling water for 15 minutes for pints or 20 minutes for quarts. Let cool overnight and make sure jars have sealed properly.