A light, silky apple butter with shot through with fresh ginger. Try it with latkes instead of plain applesauce.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Low Sugar Apple Ginger Butter
- 6 pounds apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger approximately 3 ounces
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- fresh lemon juice to taste
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 4 1/2 to 5 pints of product
- Heap the apples into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the ginger and water and set the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once you see some steam escaping from the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until the apples are completely tender.
- When the apples are fork tender, use an immersion blender to puree them smooth. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until the applesauce turns the color of wildflower honey.
- At this point, add the sugar and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so. The preserve may start to splash a little as it cooks down. If that happens, pull out your trusty splatter shield and set it on top of the pot. If you don't have a splatter shield, another option is to finish cooking the butter in the oven at 300F for half an hour or so.
- When the butter is light but spreadable, it is done. Taste it and add some lemon juice if you feel like the sweetness needs some balance.
- Once you've decided that it's done, funnel the finished butter into your prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the lid from the pot and slide it off the hot burner. Let the jars cool gradually in the water to help prevent the product from siphoning.
- Finally, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature and will keep for a couple of years. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.