Monday, October 10, 2011

Too Many Apples

One of the things I love about the fall season is going apple picking.  One of the really nice things about living in Upstate NY is the many varieties of apples we have access to.  There are a lot of farms that let you do your own picking.  There’s nothing like biting into a crisp, ripe apple that you picked off the tree yourself. 

When I was a child, my aunt, uncle, and cousins would come pick up my mom, my brothers and sisters and I and take us to the apple orchard owned by one of their neighbors and we’d pick basket after basket.  The only problem with going apple picking is that we usually ended up with more apples than we could possibly eat even after dividing them between two families. 

My mom would make apple pie, apple fritters, homemade applesauce, and apple butter.  Out of all of those things, my siblings and I loved it the most when she made the apple butter.  The scent of cinnamon, cloves, and cooking apples filled the house.  And then when it was done, spreading the deep, rich brown sauce on toast while it was still warm…  Heaven.

Yesterday I went to our local farmers market and bought a bushel basket of apples.  Once I got them home, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all of them.  And then I remembered the apple butter.  My mom hasn’t made it in years.  I asked her if she still had the recipe.  She wasn’t sure, but would check.  I found myself watching anxiously as she went through the recipe box that contains her most precious recipes, ones that have been handed down through the generations or that have some sort of sentimental meaning.   I knew there are probably hundreds of apple butter recipes on the internet, but I wanted hers.  The one that brought back such wonderful childhood memories.

And then, almost to the end of the box, there it was.  A folded 5 x7 piece of paper, brown with age, handwritten changes written in pencil faded and barely legible. 

So today, I’m making my mom’s apple butter.   I’ve included the recipe below with her permission.

Old Fashioned Apple Butter

2 dozen medium apples, quartered (about 6 pounds) (My mom used Crispins.)
2 quarts sweet cider
3 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
Cook apples in cider until tender.  Press through a sieve or food mill to separate the apple pulp from the skin.  Discard skins.  Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon.  As pulp thickens, stir frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add sugar and spices.  Cook slowly, stirring frequently until thick, about 1 hour.  Pour while hot into hot pint jars, leaving ¼ inch space from the top of the jar.  Add lids and seal tightly.  Process pints 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.  Makes 5 pints. 

Wednesday, October 12th Romance and Mystery author, Terry Odell will be my guest here and I'll be guest blogging on Judy's Stew about baking cookies at


  1. I loved finding this recipe on here and am excited to add it to my own recipe box to share with my children in hopes that one day they will look back with the same happy, fond memories of childhood and family that you have shared with us here. Thank you.

  2. Margaret-- I'm glad you liked the recipe. It's a favorite. Perhaps even more so now that my mom is getting older. Just the smell of the cooking apples brought back so many wonderful memories.