Tag Archives | apple butter

Low Sugar Apple Ginger Butter

A light, silky apple butter with shot through with fresh ginger. Try it with latkes instead of plain applesauce.

Apple Ginger Butter - Food in Jars

Back in October, Janet sent me two boxes. One contained an assortment of apples and the other was filled with fragrant, fuzzy quince. I laid the fruit out on big, rimmed sheet pan and spent a day admiring it (and sniffing the quince for the pleasure of their rosy scent).

apples for butter - Food in Jars

Soon though, it was time to get down to the business of preserving. There were enough apples for two recipes (we’ll talk about the quince later). I transformed half the apples into a batch of maple sweetened butter (like this one, but with several tablespoons of apple cider vinegar stirred in at the end for extra tang). The remaining six pounds became this light, gingery butter.

apple butter on the stove - Food in Jars

I’ll confess, I’ve gone back and and forth inside my head, debating as to whether or not to actually call this recipe a butter. You see, most of us think of fruit butters as intensely dense things, brown from spices and hours on the stove.

This apple and ginger preserve is light in color and silky in texture. It is zippy and bright where a traditional butter is earthy. But jam isn’t quite right. Neither is jelly, conserve, sauce, or puree. Until I come up with a better name, butter will just have to do.

apple ginger nectar - Food in Jars

If you decide to make this preserve, make sure to save those cores and peels left over from prepping the apples. Heap them into a saucepan, add more fresh ginger, and fill the pot with water.

Let it simmer away on the back burner for an hour or so, until the peels are soft and translucent. Once strained, you’ll have an apple-ginger nectar that is delicious sipped warm or chilled. It’s an almost effortless way to get all the goodness from your apples that you can.

Apple Ginger Butter close - Food in Jars

In this, the season of latkes (Hanukkah starts on December 6!), I can think of no higher calling for this butter than a top a disc of fried potatoes. However, if latkes aren’t your thing, don’t think you can write this one off. It’s awfully good stirred into a bowl of steel cut oats and I can’t stop imagining it layered into shortbread bar cookie.

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Giveaway: By Hand Magazine and Tote Bag

by hand and bag

One of the reasons I started canning was that I wanted to make something. I wanted to find a way to make something in my own little kitchen that would last longer than the twenty minutes to eat a meal. I wanted to have something I could put on the shelf that was useful, delicious and that I could point to and say, “Look! I made that!”

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Hey! That’s me!

It used to be that people made everything for themselves, from the tools that built houses, to butter they spread on their home baked bread, to the sweaters and coats that kept them warm. Knowing how to make, built, and craft was a matter of survival, artistry, and human expression.

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I have no interest in going entire back to the days when every item in a home started from raw materials, but I do believe that we’ve gotten a little bit out of balance when it comes to the making of things. I think the current increased interest in knitting, sewing, quilting, crafting, baking from scratch, and canning is our culture’s response to this imbalance. We want to make things with our own hands.

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There have been many books, magazines, blogs, and other forms of media that have appeared over the last few years that celebrate this resurfacing instinct to make. One of my favorites is By Hand (and this is not just because I’m a contributor. I’d have subscribed without ever writing a word for it). It was dreamed up by Susan Gibbs, the woman responsible for Juniper Moon Farm and the legions of adorable lamb photos that festoon the internet.

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The magazine is simple and lovely. It is divided into five topic areas: Cook, Grow, Build, Stitch, and Craft. Each section features recipes, instructions, ideas, tips, and stories that will help you tackle a world of projects and dishes. The writing is clear, useful, and friendly and the photography is really beautifully done.

yeasted apple butter bread

Oh this yeasted apple butter bread recipe. I’ve been meaning to make it for months now. I have several jars of apple butter, waiting to be pressed into service. I’m hoping to try it soon and if it’s as good as I think it will be, I’ll post the recipe as a “Preserves in Action” piece.

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You can browse the Fall/Winter issue digitally by clicking here and if it seems like something you want to have in tangible format, their shop can be found here. The Spring edition will be out shortly and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it.

What’s more, I have a little giveaway today. Two lucky winners will each get a By Hand tote bag and a copy of the Fall/Winter issue of the magazine (they’re in the first picture at the top of this post). Here’s what you do to enter.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share one thing you like to make by hand (it doesn’t have to be food related, either. Just something you make). If you’ve not taken the plunge yet, share something you’d like to learn to do.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, March 1, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway open to everyone.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.
Disclosure: The By Hand editorial staff gave me the tote bags and the copies of the magazine. They did not pay for inclusion on the blog and my opinions remain entirely my own. 

Canning 101: How to Make Apple Butter and How to Use It

apples

Last Friday, a piece I wrote about making apple butter ran on Simple Bites. For those of you who’ve been reading this site for awhile, the technique won’t be unfamiliar to you. It’s essentially the same one I use for all my butters, including the blueberry butter that was so popular this summer.

With apple butter, I cook the fruit down into sauce on the stove top or in the slow cooker. Then, using a slow cooker, I cook the sauce down into butter. With this last batch, I did a bit of experimentation with my newer slow cooker (for the blueberry butter, I used an older one that has a lower cooking temperature). What I found is that the “warm” setting on my newer cooker (vintage 2003) was quite similar to the “low” setting on older cooker that dates to the early seventies. In case you were wondering.

Now, as far as apple butter goes, it can be canned without any additional sweetener. However, I typically find that a bit of cane sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup brightens the flavor. I don’t like artificial sweeteners, so I don’t use them, but they could also be used in this case if you tend towards them.

So, how to use all this apple butter that you’re cooking up in your slow cooker? Personally, I like it stirred into greek yogurt or slathered on peanut butter toast. You can also use it in place of applesauce in baked goods. For instances, it would go nicely in my Maple-Banana Bread. I also like the looks of this Apple Butter Bread. Consider subbing some apple butter for the pumpkin puree in these spiced pancakes. Use it as one of the moisture lenders in a granola recipe.

Now for your ideas! How do you like to use apple butter?

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Fruit Butters (Peaches, Pears and Apples)

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As a kid, I was fascinated by the lives of long-dead historical figures. I devoured those blue-bound “When They Were Young” biographies, absorbing the childhood details of Helen Keller, Susan B. Anthony and Clara Barton. I was a particular fan of Betsy Ross, in part because I’d taken the walking tour through her cramped colonial home in Philadelphia’s historic district (later, when we were back in California, I delightedly wore the Quaker sunbonnet my grandmother bought me at the museum gift shop).

One aspect that I found particularly entrancing in these “biographies” (looking back, I realize that these volumes were probably far more fiction than fact) was the way in which food preparation was detailed (this is also why I read and re-read all the Little House books).

There’s one scene in the Betsy Ross book that has always stuck with me, in which she (as a seven or eight year old) is given the task of tending the apple butter, as it slowly cooks over an open fire. She uses a wooden paddle to scrape the scum off the top of the butter and a long wooden stirrer, with which to ensure that the butter doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. I found this description, of a little girl being tasked with such responsibility, so very appealing. As a child of similar age, I longed to participate in the activities of food preparation, and to have a hand in making things from scratch.

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However, in those days, our applesauce came from a jar and the only thing we spread on bread was strawberry jam from a large, blue plastic bucket (the one with a white handle and lid). It wasn’t until my family moved to Oregon a few years later, and we found ourselves in a new/old house with gnarled old apple trees down at the very back of the property, did we even attempt to make apple butter (there is little in the world that tastes better than apple butter made from antique, windfall apples).

These days, homemade fruit butters are an integral part of my summer and fall preserving routine. After the jump, you’ll find my general fruit butter technique, it’s not a specific recipe, but instead a flexible approach that can expand or contract, depending on how much fruit you have. I also have a half pint jar of pear butter to give away. If you want it, leave a comment by Friday, September 18th at 11:59 p.m.

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