(Continued from Sept. 2015 Historian)
SO, here is an apple butter recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks. This is from Miss Eliza Leslie’s Practical Cookery, 1834 edition.
APPLE BUTTER – This is a compound of apples and cider boiled together till of the consistence of soft butter. It is a very good article on the tea-table, or at luncheon. It can only be made of sweet new cider fresh from the press, and not yet fermented.
Fill a very large kettle with cider, and boil it till reduced to one half the original quantity. Then have ready some fine juicy apples, pared, cored, and quartered; and put as many into the kettle as can be kept moist by the cider. Stir it frequently, and when the apples are stewed quite soft, take them out with a skimmer that has holes in it, and put them into a tub. then add more apples to the cider, and stew them soft in the same manner, stirring them nearly all the time with a stick. Have at hand more cider ready boiled, to thin the apple butter in case you should find it too thick in the kettle.
If you make a large quantity, (and it is not worth while to prepare apple butter on a small scale,) it will take a day to stew the apples. At night leave them cool in the tubs (which must be covered with cloths,) and finish next day by boiling the apple and cider again till the consistence is that of soft marmalade, and the colour is very dark brown.
Twenty minutes or half an hour before you finally take it from the fire, add powdered cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to your taste. If the spice is boiled too long, it will lose its flavour.
When it is cold, put it into stone jars, and cover it closely. If it has been well made, and sufficiently boiled, it will keep a year or more.
It must not be boiled in a brass or bell-metal kettle, on account of the verdigris which the acid will collect in it, and which will render the apple butter extremely unwholesome, not to say poisonous.
Here is a generic recipe:
Cook over very low heat:
Cored, peeled apples (or uncored or peeled; but strain through a sieve later)
a little water or cider to moisten
for about 2 hours. Stir frequently.
Strain if needed, and place back on the stove with about a cup of sugar for every 2 cups of apple pulp.
Stir almost constantly for another 4 hours or until dark brown and reduced so that a dollop on a plate yields no liquid around the edges.
Process in scalded jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.
(Our ancestors placed this in crocks and covered them with cheesecloth and stored in the cellar for up to a year. And they lived, didn’t they?)