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Apple Butter on a Fall Day in Colorado (c)2012 La Domestique

Thick and spreadable, apple butter is named for its texture, and contains no dairy. I’ve been doing a fair bit of preserving at home lately, but cooking apples down into a dark, caramelized puree is my absolute fall favorite. Every year I make a batch to mark the season, and thoroughly enjoy seeking out a new variety to try at the local farmer’s market. This year, after tasting through each apple at the market, I stumbled upon a new favorite: Alkmene. An old German apple, this variety stood out amongst the rest because of its tart, robustly apple flavor paired with dense and juicy flesh. I brought home a big bag of apples and pulled out one of my favorite preserving cookbooks, Canning for a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff. A tattered post-it marked the recipe for Spiced Apple Butter. This may be the easiest preserving ever, because the apples are stewed in a crockpot for 9-12 hours before the puree is ladled into sterilized jars and processed in a hot water bath. Cooking jam on the stovetop is much a quicker and more hectic process, and it’s nice to have a whole day while the preserve bubbles away in the slow-cooker to prepare for filling and processing the jars. As the fruit simmers, a festive aroma of baking spices fills the house. Cinnamon, clove, and allspice concentrate in flavor as the apples turn from cream-colored to dark amber, and the puree becomes thick and velvety.

Apple Butter and Homemade Irish Wheat Soda Bread on a Fall Day in Colorado (c)2012 La Domestique

Warm apple butter is a treat spread over hearty wheat toast, stirred into porridge, or as a filling for  pocket pie. Have you got a favorite recipe for apple butter? Share your experience in the comments section. Click Here.