Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Redfield Farm Apple Butter

I just finished reading Redfield Farm, a novel about a Quaker woman and the underground railroad, written by my mother, Judith Redline Coopey.
(Incidentally, it's wonderful!) I don't know whether I was influenced by a passage in the book or by the crispness of the autumn air outside my window but I decided I wanted to make apple butter. 

Years ago my mother gave me an ancient, crumbling, Quaker cookbook from the 1800's that belonged to her mother. It only seemed fitting to consult it for a recipe for apple butter. I adapted this recipe from that book but streamlined it by incorporating a slow cooker. It's so simple and rustic, perfect for the new crop of fall apples in the markets. And, the smell of baked, tart apples and spices will fill your kitchen with autumn warmth. 

So, in honor of Ann Redfield the heroine of Redfield Farm,
and my mother, I present
Redfield Farm Apple Butter!

Redfield Farm Apple Butter
Makes 2 pints

2 pounds of Granny Smith Apples, washed, quartered and cored
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice

In a large saucepan, combine the apples and water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until the apples have softened to the consistency of applesauce.

Pass the apples through a sieve or food mill.  Stir in the sugar and spices and pour the apple puree into a slow cooker. Set the temperature on low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 hours.

At this point you can can the hot apple butter in Ball jars, or simply cool the mixture and store it in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. 

Try it on a grilled cheese sandwich with sharp cheddar, alongside a pork roast, or smeared on toast!

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