How to Make Apple Butter the Old Fashioned Way

This step-by-step guide shows you how to make old-fashioned apple butter the way your grandmother used to. With just a few simple ingredients, you can enjoy this delicious spread all fall long!

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Apple butter is a delicious spread made from apples that have been slow cooked until they are soft and caramelized. It is a popular ingredient in baking, and can also be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and toast. Making apple butter at home is easy, and the results are well worth the effort. This recipe makes a small batch of apple butter, but it can easily be doubled or tripled to make a larger quantity.

What You Will Need

In order make apple butter the old fashioned way, you will need the following items:
-A large pot or slow cooker
-A food strainer or cheesecloth
-A spoon or spatula for stirring
– jars or other containers for storing the finished product

In addition to these items, you will need apples, sugar, spices, and water. The type of apples you use is up to you, but a combination of different varieties will give your apple butter more flavor. The amount of sugar and spices you use is also up to you, so feel free to experiment until find a combination that you like.

The Cooking Process

For those of you who have never made apple butter before, let start by saying that it is an exceptionally easy preserve to make. Not only is it simple, but the end result is a thick, dark, spiced fruit spread that tastes absolutely amazing on just about everything.

The cooking process for apple butter could not be more straight forward. Apples and sugar are simmered down with a little bit of water until they are completely broken down and the mixture becomes thick and dark. From there, all you need to do is add in your spices, give it a good stir, and let the whole thing cook until it’s nice and thick.

The Canning Process

If you want to learn how to make old-fashioned apple butter the right way, you need to start with the canning process. Canning is a necessary step in order to preserve the apple butter and keep it fresh for months or even years. The canning process involves sterilizing the jars and lids that you will be using, as well as boiling the apple butter itself.

The first step is to wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water. Then, rinse them well and set them aside to air dry. Next, you will need to sterilize the jars by boiling them for 10 minutes. Be sure to put a rack in the bottom of the pot so that the jars do not touch the direct heat. After 10 minutes, remove the jars from the pot with tongs and set them upside down on a clean towel to cool and dry.

Once the jars are sterilized and dry, it’s time to start boiling the apple butter. Begin by peeling and chopping apples into small pieces. You should have about 8 cups of chopped apples when all is said and done. Add the apples to a large pot along with sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir everything together until well combined.

Place the pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 3-4 hours, or until it becomes thick and dark brown in color. Be sure to stir it occasionally so that it doesn’t stick or burn on the bottom of the pot.

Once your apple butter has reached its desired consistency, remove it from heat and ladle it into each of your sterilized jars. Make sure to leave about ½ inch of headspace at the top of each jar. Wipe any spills from around the rim of each jar with a clean towel before placing on their lids (which should also have been sterilized). Screw on each lid tightly before flipping each jar upside down for 5 minutes so that they can properly seal.

After 5 minutes have passed, turn each jar right side up and let them cool completely before storing in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Be sure to check your seals before storing; if any of your jars did not seal properly, you will need to refrigerate those ones and use them first (within 3 months).


Give your apple butter a final stir, then ladle it into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then screw on the lids. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and let them sit undisturbed until cool. Check the seals, then store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

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