A lot of people take their kids apple picking as a great family friendly activity this time of the year. We too have made it a tradition and I have found and tried many great ways to preserve and use all of those beautiful apples. This recipe for crock pot apple butter is as easy as it gets and it is oh-so-good to share with family and friends, if you don’t eat it all yourself. It is a great way to use those apples that you picked with your family!
This is one of those recipes that I tried for the first time a few years ago because I had so many apples that I didn’t know what I was going to do with them. I tried crock pot applesauce which was a hit, then I found this recipe for crock pot apple butter. It was something that I personally had never eaten – I didn’t even know what it was. Anything that can be made in the crock pot while I play with the kids and includes apples, cinnamon and sugar has got to be good – so I tried it – and am I ever glad that I did!
My family adores this stuff and I can’t keep enough in the house throughout the year no matter how much I make. It is a sweet and flavorful spread that is perfect on morning toast or bread. The kids eat it like crazy, and I too have to stop myself from eating 5 pieces of toast with this delicious apple butter spread on it. It is now a staple in our pantry and I make as much as I can in the fall to last us the year. It is quite an event and even has a place on our Family Fun Fall list.
My little girl loves to help cook in the kitchen and this is one of her favorites to help with. Here is a little trick I have learned over the last couple of years with her. I got this Pampered Chef Lettuce knife from a friend who didn’t use it anymore. It is the absolute perfect tool for her to use in the kitchen and help mom. It is made of plastic and has a serrated plastic cutting edge and it is pink which makes her awfully happy. If she pushes a little and rocks it back and forth it easily cuts right through the apple safely. I gave it to her once after butter knifes failed to do the job and she has officially coined it her knife in the kitchen. I peel and cut the apples into slices using an apple corer/slicer and then she cuts the slices into little chunks and adds them to the crock pot. So far this year we have made a quadruple batch of apple butter and had to peel and cut over 24 apples (some were really little). As fast as I could peel and core them she was chopping and adding them to the pot! I tell you what this year, at three years old, she was a BIG help! Of course, she is only allowed to use this under supervision and I still watch her very closely even though it is a plastic knife. It is a great way for her to start learning skills in the kitchen that she will use for a lifetime – and I love to spend the time with her in the kitchen too.
After we peel and chop the apples we throw them into a large crock pot (remember this was a quadruple batch and it cooks down a lot) we add all of the spices and sugar to sweeten it up! This makes the house smell divine for the entire day!
Then you set the crock pot on high until it begins to bubble stirring occasionally. Then you can set the crock pot to low and let it work its magic throughout the day as you enjoy your family instead of hovering over the stove. I think that is why I enjoy this recipe so much – it really is easy for this stay at home Mom to make. Once it is mixed and cooking I am free to go about my day doing laundry and playing with the kids. I just stop in the kitchen every hour or so to stir and enjoy the aroma.
Because I make a large quantity I always can my apple butter in a boiling water bath so that we can keep and use it all year long. Do your research on canning to ensure you do it properly – I am no expert – but it is really a simple process. I love having a stash of this in the cupboard to pull out for get togethers or to give as gifts throughout the year. It makes it an extra special gift because the apples are homegrown, picked and prepared into apple butter by the kids and myself. I am always happy to share it with the people that we love.
I certainly don’t claim this recipe as my own. I found it on an adorable blog called Bakin’ On the Side where she calls it Slow Cooker Apple Butter. It is so good and the recipe is spot on – so I had to share it!
- 6 apples (use just about any kind of apples for this recipe)
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider (or apple juice)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Peel, core and chop apples, add to slow cooker.
- Add cider/juice, sugar and spices.
- Cook on high until bubbly.
- Reduce heat to low and cook 6-8 hours, stirring every hour. When done, the apple butter will have thickened and be a deep brown color.
- For a smoother texture, blend to break down any remaining chunks of apple. I use a handheld emulsifier or blender to achieve a smoother texture after cooking.
- If planning to store your apple butter or use as a gift can it in a boiling water bath.
- Without canning, keep refrigerated and use within a month or two.