Pilgrimages to the mountains this fall by my grandparents have yielded this Farmer with apples aplenty. Pies, cakes, and tarts have abounded this season and finally, after much persistence i.e. nagging and begging on my part, Mimi has made her Apple Butter.
This delicacy has a longstanding place in my memory of warmth and delight, for Mema, Mimi’s mother, would make this and the smell and taste bring back memories of her. She would fill dough with this apple concoction and bake apple turnovers or fry apple fritters. Mimi has perfected the recipe and we use it on breads, biscuits, poundcake, or simply as dessert itself. I take only a spoonful at a time, yet, still, the jar keeps diminishing in volume. I suppose it is the spoonfuls throughout the day that cause the diminishment.
This sauce is that good – you’ll find yourself sampling right off the stove and right out of the fridge… hot or cold, warm or cool, Mimi’s Apple Butter will surely become a favorite. With the holidays fast approaching, jar some apple butter to give to your neighbors, friends, and loved ones, that is, if you can bear to share!
Mimi’s Apple Butter
**Cooks note…use a “mealy” flesh apple such as Staymen’s, Winesap, or McIntosh…the typical red apples at the grocery are usually pretty mealy. Throw in a Pink Lady or a Fuji or even a Granny Smith for a chunkier sauce and flavor texture. The latter apples don’t cook down like the Staymen’s and Winesaps thus leaving some texture to the sauce. Keeping with the mealy fleshed kinds alone will result in a smoother consistency.
12 cups of chopped cooking apples
2 cups of sugar… depends on cook’s palette and sweetness of apples.
2 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground cloves or 8 whole cloves…again, more if desired.
2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Add all the ingredients to a large covered pot or Dutch oven. Stir well with a wooden spoon and cover with lid. Cook on low heat for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove lid after two hours and “cook down” or until most of the water has evaporated. Stir often and watch carefully for sticking.
Once your apples and spices have filled the house with their delicious aroma, you may “put up” your apple Sauce as you would any jam or jelly, following safety guidelines for canning.
If you plan to devour your apple sauce as we do, it will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a week… that’s if you can use will power that I don’t have! Enjoy!
James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer.
by Chef Mark Shoup