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Apple Butter - Crockpot or Stovetop?

I've been thinking about making apple butter. I looked up some recipies and noticed many of them are made in a crockpot. I'm kind of a crockpot skeptic. Crockpots seem to work with specific things but not all things. I've never made apple butter before so I'm wondering what's the better ways to make apple butter. Thanks.

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  1. I usually make mine in a crockpot with the lid ajar, but I'd wait until fall, when apples are in season.

    6 Replies
    1. re: momskitchen

      I'm in the SF Bay Area so we get a good supply of apples year round. I bought a batch of "cosmetically challenged" ones so it was a good deal.

      1. re: Allfrog68

        Great idea! We get them here in Michigan year round, but they are more expensive this time of year. Here is how I do it in the crockpot - this was for crab apple butter but it would work for non crabby apples, too. Sweeten to your liking....

        Crab Apple Butter
        4 lbs crab apples, stems removed and halved. If they are small, they can be left whole
        1 cup water
        2 cup sugar
        1 t. dried grated orange feel
        1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
        1/2 t. ground cloves
        1/2 t. ground ginger

        Put apples and water in a large crock pot and cover, cook until apples are soft, about 8 hours on LOW. Strain apples using a food mill or fruit strainer until a uniform texture is reached. You should have 6 cups puree. Return to crock pot (or saucepan for stove top cooking) and add spices and stir frequently. Cook down with the lid vented until the fruit butter can hold it's shape on a spoon, to check it put a small amount on a chilled plate. When the liquid doesn't separate and create a rim around the edge, and it holds a buttery, spreadable shape when you pass your finger through it, it's ready to can. Ladle into jars leaving a 1/4 inch head space, and adjust caps. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Yields about 6 half pints...

        1. re: momskitchen

          Your recipe sounds good. I've read a number of them but haven't seen any w/ orange peel. That sounds like a good addition. You note that stems should be removed. So, does that mean you put the peels, seeds, core in the batch. I've read some receipies that include the cores and some that do not. I like the idea of leaving them in if it's easy to separate. Thanks.

          1. re: Allfrog68

            Yes, leave everything on the apples - bu after you cook them and t they are soft, you put them through a food mill. I have a fruit strainer attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer that makes it a snap....but I reckon most other people use a food mill. If you don't have one, I suggest you core the apples, maybe even peel them, too. Enjoy!

            1. re: momskitchen

              Depending on the apples used, leaving the skins on can add a pretty rosy hue to the applesauce. And they do mill right off.

              1. re: morwen

                Yeah, I definitely mill...my crab apple butter is a beautiful color.

    2. I've made it on the stove, in a crock pot and in an iron pot over an open fire. If you make it in the crock pot, you don't have to stir it as much to keep it from scorching. I usually end up taking the lid off and let it cook slowly. Makes the house smell wonderful. Also doesn't bubble up as much in the crock pot-when it bubbles up it can really burn you.

      1. I tend to like the crock pot as you don't have to fuss as much as when its on the stove. I just do mine overnight, lid tilted or off altogether.

        1. If your batch is bigger than your crock pot do it in the oven. Like the crock pot there's no need to stand over the hot stove constantly stirring and guarding against scorching. Put the applesauce and spices in a large roaster at 350F, stir occasionally, a little more often at the end as it thickens to your liking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: morwen

            Oven for me too.

          2. Crock pot for me.