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Would you trust this home canned apple butter to be safe for consumption?

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I've always used the chowhound boards as a cooking reference but never joined til now. So here's my first question...

I made and BWB canned my first batch of apple butter a few days ago. I didn't use the USDA's recommended recipe but rather winged it after reading several recipes. What I gathered from the recipes and opinions of others was that apple butter is safe (acidity wise) to be BWB canned as is, with no additional vinegar or lemon juice. However, the USDA's recipe includes vinegar, which makes me think otherwise.

My impromptu recipe did include a splash of apple cider vinegar to the sliced apples to help get the cooking started, as well as a teeny tiny splash of lemon juice to each half pint jar before filling (due to my food safety paranoia!). I processed for 7 minutes.

Also, I totally spaced and forgot to remove bubbles from the jar before I put the lids on. I can see a few small bubbles in each jar.

So, what I'm looking for is an opinion on whether or not you'd trust my apple butter to be safe for consumption. Do you think apples need extra acidity to be kept safe from botulism spores? This has also made me wonder if the acidity of a food is increased as it is cooked down and the water content is lowered?

Thanks in advance for all your help!

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  1. Ya, that's a tricky question!:) I would prob not trust it. I've used canning recipes for apple butter, and never had probs with it, and I think I only used lemon juice as the acidic. When I can things, I really stick to the recipe. As for the bubbles, might not be a problem. Maybe open the jars up, re boil, re fill, get the bubbles out, and re process.

    1. I haven't made apple butter in a couple years but I don't remember ever adding vinegar to it.

      1. When in doubt, throw it out.

        1. When canning, always follow the recipe. Or you can call Bernardin's toll-free number 1-888-430-4231 (in Canada) or via their website and ask them.

          In some recipes, I don't add any acid because the fruit is acid enough and does not need any additional. Some fruits are high acid (such as apples, cranberries, etc.) and some are low, so that's why it's always best to follow directions.

          I would think your recipe should be fine as long as you are also using enough sugar (preservative). If you are very nervous, you could add about a Tbsp of lemon juice when making the recipe. I often use equal parts lemon juice instead of vinegar because you can't taste it in the finished product whereas vinegar you can.

          I sometimes get a few tiny air bubbles in the jars. Not to worry.

          Hope this helps.

          1. If you refrigerate the jars, you should be okay.

            1. Responding about a year after your original post -- just saw it now. I wouldn't worry about the safety of your apple butter. I've been canning it for years and have never had a problem. I never add vinegar or lemon juice. Lemon juice is useful if you're making applesauce and wish to prevent it from darkening from exposure to air as it cooks -- though it still tastes the same, no matter the color. Just follow the usual precautions -- clean utensils and jars, etc. I process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. My hunch has always been that recipe providers err on the side of caution because they're worried that people will cheat on the times, although I can't imagine why -- as a fellow Irishman said to me, "When the good Lord made time, He made lots of it, didn't He (or She, if you prefer)?" As far as the air bubbles, you're leaving a huge air bubble for headroom in the jar anyway, so not to worry.

              1. As long as this thread has been resurrected, how did it go? Was the apple butter fine to eat? Or did you toss it?

                2 Replies
                  1. re: chefj

                    I'm not the OP, but that was my basic question as well.