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Apple Butter with no canning?

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Forgive me if this topic has already been dealt with but my search did not come up with anything and I am desperate!

We went apple picking yesterday and came back with almost 100 lbs of apples. I am planning on making apple pies and applesauce and freezing them, but I'd like to make apple butter as well. The problem is, I don't know how to can and I'd like to try to find an apple butter recipe with doesn't involve canning. I was thinking of preparing apple butter and then freezing it at the end (as an alternative to canning), but I don't know how the end product would turn out.

Does anyone know if it is possible to make apple butter without involving the canning process? Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, fellow hounds!

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  1. I think you're unnecessarily worried about canning. I would make the apple butter and pack it into re-usable canning jars (buy some if you don't already have them) that have been very well washed and rinsed in hot water. Keep them warm so they don't crack when you fill them with the hot apple butter. Screw on new lids and place in a boiling water bath for about 5 minutes.

    That sounds scary, right? It's not. A boiling water bath is just a large pot filled with enough boiling water to completely immerse the jars (standing upright) about an inch over the lids. By boiling the tightly covered jars, you're basically just sterilizing the contents of the jar AND the jar itself. The apple butter is a very low-risk item, in terms of spoilage, so I've even jarred it without the water bath but experts recommend the process to avoid any risk at all.

    When the jars have been boiled, remove them from the boiling water and place on a folded towel to cool. The towel keeps the jars from contacting a cold surface (like a counter) and cracking. The lids will automatically snap down by themselves - thus sealing the jars airtight. Done. It's not brain surgery - it just looks that way.

    Go ahead. Do it. Very satisfying.

    On the other hand, you can also just freeze apple butter in containers. Not as pretty, but it works fine.

      1. I second Nyleve's post. Canning is really not hard, and doesn't actually require special equipment. Just a big soup pot, some tongs, and a good oven glove.

        But I've also simply frozen apple butter in freezer bags, and it's fine. It loses some of it's thick, rich texture, so I usually defrost it, then return it to the crockpot for a couple of hours before jarring it for storage in the fridge.

        But for the last few years, I've been canning without the water bath - know, I know...it's risky and not recommended - by simply boiling my jars and rings, filling them with the hot (almost boiling) apple butter, and then sealing them up. It's really just laziness that I don't just toss them back in the boiling water for the final water bath...

        3 Replies
        1. re: RosemaryHoney

          Truth time. I don't process either. But don't tell anyone.

          1. re: Nyleve

            Ha! I know!!! I feel the same way. For as long as I can remember, my great aunt has made chili sauce, apple butter, and peaches, and distributed jars and jars of them to everyone in the family for Christmas gifts. A few summers ago, I went over to her house to learn her chili sauce recipe, and I discovered that she doesn't process anything! Even the peaches! She was like "Come on...who really does that?" as I stood there with my mouth gaping open. Then she said "You think we knew about micro thingys way back when?" And I stopped processing as diligently after that. I know if certain Chowhounder catch our posts, we'll be in for it. But...oh well.

            1. re: RosemaryHoney

              I never process jams or chutneys or other things that cook for a long time. I'm careful to have the jars and lids sterilized and hot and I fill them straight from the bubbling pot. To my knowledge I've never poisoned anyone. I would always process stuff like pickles or low-acid sauces. But let's keep this dirty little secret to ourselves.