Back in January an apple truck ran off the road in our neighboring town. For some reason, USDA regulations prohibit the supplier from delivering to the grocer after an accident. Because of these regulations, the supplier instructed the driver to give ALL the cases of apples away to the community. On Monday, Mrs.D arrived at our house with one of these cases of apples. She blessed us with 1/2 the case. Unfortunately, the apples had been sitting for several weeks and had lost most of their crispness, also known in my family as "mealy".
What does one do with apples that have lost their crispness? In our home, if a food is salvageable we find a way to use it. Although "mealy" apples are not the best for munching on, they are great for baking and cooking. After making an apple crumble, I used the remaining apples to make ...
... 13 half pints of apple butter. It was a pleasure to thank Mrs.D for the 1/2 case of apples with a jar of apple butter. The addition of the apple butter brings our supply of sweet spreads up to a year and half's worth.
So, if you are ever blessed with slightly overripe fruit, don't toss it in the trash. Use it to make fruit fillings for pies, crumbles, cobblers, or sweet spreads for homemade breads and rolls.
Here's my apple butter recipe:
Mrs. B's Apple Butter
8 lb. apples (about 32 medium)
5 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
juice from 1/2 orange
Step 1: Wash, core, peel and quarter apples.
Step 2: In a large stockpot combine apples with 2 cups water. Simmer until apples are soft. Drain.
Step 3: Puree softened apples with a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy.
Step 4: Return apple puree to stockpot. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt and orange juice. Cook over low heat until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. You may also want to place a screened splatter guard over the top of the pot.
Step 5: Ladle hot apple butter into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 in. head space. Removed air bubbles. Adjust lids and bands.
Step 6: Process 1/2 pints 10 minutes, pints 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.