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I'm Laura. I am female, 31, a gamer, a bookworm, a knitter, a spinner, a tatter, pierced, tattooed, musical, vehemently geeky and occasionally ineptly artistic.

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What not to do when making apple butter.


Posted at 03 Jun 2009 11:36:54 AM

Even though I know that small batches are always better, I just don't seem to learn.

The folks at the farmer's market didn't feel like counting out 50 lbs of apples (they pack them in 40lb boxes), so they offered us 2 boxes of 40lbs each for less than 50lbs would have been. We said Ok! Swung by the grocery store for extra sugar and cloves, picked up some wine, and headed home to open the windows, drink some wine and make some apple butter.

The problem was, we also looked at those huge boxes, contemplated the 10 or so 8-lb batches that would be necessary to cook all of them down properly, and said "hey, we've got that big extra water bath canner - why can't we cook down a whole box of apples in that?" The answer, in case you were wondering, is because you cannot possibly maintain a constant temperature throughout 40 lbs of applesauce over one little kitchen burner flame. The sugar will crystallize out, the sauce directly over the flame will scorch to the pan, you will miserably miscalculate the amount of apple vinegar needed, and add about 10x as much cloves as necessary. You will get a headache from smelling hot vinegar all day. It will be BAD.

We threw the whole mess out. Good thing we got them cheaply, huh?

Sunday, I did it right. Stuck to an 8lb batch, reworked my calculations for how much liquid was really necessary, and realized that where my handwritten recipe said "1 tbsp cloves" it really meant "1/2 tsp." The result was much, much better, and I canned up 6 half-pints with another little tupperware container in the fridge for immediate enjoyment. I read and re-read the instructions, and the pressure canner worked like a charm.

I figure, if I can do a batch a night, I should be done this week. I'm trying to screw up my courage and do one batch tonight on the stove while letting another one simmer in the crockpot overnight, so that I don't end up with truly mushy apples come Thursday and Friday. Benefit of the pressure canner is I can really fit a lot in there at once - it's big and scary, but it's my new kitchen toy and I will enjoy it to the hilt!

Tagged as: cooking, preserving


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