Friday, 18 January 2013

Homemade Apple Butter for a Winter Breakfast

It's been a cold, cold, winter week here. I've always thought of winter as my favourite season for many reasons. First, there's Christmas and New Years. Then there's Chinese New Year, which has always been exciting, and my birthday. Of course, there is snow, and with snow comes many hours playing in it and the thin sliver of hope that I'd always kept for a "snow day" to happen. The other wonderful thing about winter is the coziness you can achieve by having a pot of something simmering and releasing wafts of warm fragrance for hours on the stove. I enjoyed hours of that yesterday; it was like having a scented candle lit the entire day, with the added benefit of being able to stir the pot and taste the deliciously sweet and rich concoction bubbling inside. I made apple butter.

The Recipe:
  • 10 medium apples (any variety or mix)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapples (drained from can or fresh)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Wash and peel apples. Save half of the peels, and place in a loose-thread cotton spice bag. Then cut apples into small cubes, and cook in a covered pot on low heat. Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pot to prevent burning. Add apple peels, chopped pineapples, and lemon juice. Continue to cook on low heat, with the lid covered for 20 to 30 minutes to let everything soften. Then prop the lid ajar, and continue to cook over low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure the bottom is not burning. After a few hours, the apple pieces should be broken down, and the colour should be darkened. Transfer to your favourite glass jam jar, allow to cool and chill overnight. Then spread on toast and enjoy!

Note: I didn't bother going through the proper canning technique that's normally used for making jams, because this wasn't a very large batch, and I'd planned to keep it in the refrigerator. Besides, something this yummy will be gone before it has a chance to spoil, I'm sure. By adding the apple peels, I was hoping for the natural pectin and rosy red colour to seep into the apple butter. I'm not sure whether the pectin made a difference because this was the only batch I made and I had nothing to compare it to. It did add a touch of rosiness though!

Apples, peels, pineapples – after 20 minutes

Jar of homemade apple butter
Ideal breakfast.
(that's just milk by the way)

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