A Canner Who Cans

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I mentioned in my post “My New Found Love” that I have recently discovered canning and I promised to share some recipes with you! So far, I’ve made two different recipes; an apple butter recipe and a pear butter recipe and both are delicious. I’ve given a number of jars to friends and family as gifts and they all loved them so I’m super proud of that considering I’ve never made any sort of fruit butter before.

For those of you who don’t know, fruit butters don’t actually have any butter in them. I did not know this until Matt and I visited his grandparents for Thanksgiving. Knowing that and how much he enjoyed them I figured it would be easy enough to learn how to make. Apple butter is basically applesauce that has been cooked down further so that it is a really thick, creamy mixture. There are a few methods of making apple butter; such as Crock Pot, stovetop, baking or some combination. Because I wanted a large batch I ended up doing two versions- the crockpot version and the stove top version. With both recipes I did run into a little trouble with the consistency of the butter (ie. it wasn’t thick enough) so it is a little closer to the consistency of applesauce.

The Crock Pot recipe I followed is one that I found on Pinterest, but as I mentioned in my original canning post relying solely on pins for canning recipes can be dangerous. If you don’t properly sterilize the jars or process them for the correct amount of time bacteria will form inside the jar due to an improper seal. Knowing that going in I did a lot of research and double checked the processing times on the Ball Website. You can also use the or the  as recipe sources because these recipes have been tested and are known to be safe. I got the Blue Ribbon Canning book from Barnes and Noble (we had a gift card), but you can get it on Amazon for half the price. I actually have my grandma’s old canning books which are super cool to look at. I won’t be using them for the recipes necessarily (one is from 1987 and the other is from 1964), but they are very cool to look at and it makes me happy to have something that my grandma used so frequently.

Now comes the recipe 🙂

Ingredients Needed:
  • 5 pounds Gala or Fiji apples, cored and chopped (feel free to choose another type of  baking apple)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (I used closer to 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions for Crock Pot Cooking (I use this and I love it!)
  1. Wash, core and chop your apples. The smaller the chop the more quickly they will cook.
  2. Add apple pieces, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to Crock Pot making sure the apples are evenly coated.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft and cooked completely through. To test this I simply stabbed a few apple pieces with a fork and when there was no resistance they were completely cooked.
  4. Once apples are completely soft use, puree them with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can transfer the apples to a traditional blender or food processor (be careful as the apples are extremely hot!).
    1. I use this immersion blender and it is amazing! I did get mine at Kohl’s but it’s available on Amazon Prime for $15 less.
  5. Once smooth, cook the apples for an additional 30-60 minutes until the mixture has reached your desired consistency.

Instructions for Stovetop Cooking
  1. Wash, core and chop your apples. The smaller the chop the more quickly they will cook.
  2. Add apple pieces, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a large pot making sure the apples are evenly coated.
  3. Cook on high until the apples are soft, stirring frequently.
    1. I didn’t even cover the apples, I watched the pot like a hawk and once they started getting soft stirred constantly.
  4. Once apples are completely soft use, puree them with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can transfer the apples to a traditional blender or food processor (be careful as the apples are extremely hot!).
  5. Once smooth, cook the apples over medium to medium-high heat until the mixture has reached your desired thickness.

Water Bath Canning Instructions from Blue Ribbon Canning
  1. Wash canning jars, lids, and screw bands in warm soapy water.
  2. Dry lids and screw bands thoroughly and set aside, keep jars hot until ready to use
    1. For this step I actually kept the jars in the water bath canner while it simmered
  3. Fill water bath canner pot ⅔ full of water. Place on the stovetop, cover, and heat of medium-high heat.
  4. Prepare and measure the ingredients according to your recipe.
  5. Place the flat lids in a small plan of hot water. Cover and keep the lids off the heat for 10 minutes or until ready to use. Do not boil the lids.
  6. Prepare and cook fruit according to the recipe.
  7. Place the hot jars upright on a towel or a heat proof cutting board.
    1. A cold counter may cause the jars to crack, which is unsafe.
  8. Fill the jars using a funnel, leaving the headspace indicated by the recipe
    1. Fruit butters call for ¼ inch of headspace (the room left between the butter and the lid).
  9. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp paper towel
    1. I also ran a plastic spatula through the butter to get rid of excess air bubbles prior to wiping down the rim
  10. Place the hot lids on the jars and apply the screw bands until fingertip-tight. Do not overtighten the bands.
  11. Position the basket in the water bath canner
  12. Using a jar lifter, load the cans into the canner. Making sure to keep the jars upright and away from the sides of the canner. Also leave at least 1 inch of space between the jars.
    1. Lower the basket and ensure the jars are covered by at least 1 to 2 inches of water (add more hot water if necessary).
  13. Cover the canner and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil during processing.
  14. Start the timer after the water reaches a boil. Ensure that the water is boiling the whole time- if boiling stops, bring back to a boil and reset the timer for the full processing time. Apple butter processes for 10 minutes.
    1. Make timing adjustments for altitudes over 1000 feet.
  15. When processing time is complete, turn off heat and remove the lid from the canner. Using the jar lifter, carefully lift the jars from the canner (careful to keep them upright) and place them on a towel to cool for at least 24 hours.
  16. Once completely cool you can check the seals. If properly sealed the jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

It may sound overwhelming, but if you follow a reputable source’s canning instructions it is actually really fun! And, you will have lots of delicious treats stored away for winter (or when you just really want a snack)!

Do you have a favorite canning recipe? If so please share it with me, I’d love to try it out! If you are a veteran canner do you have any tips for me? I’m always open to advice!

xoxo

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