Apple Butter

*Every time I make apple butter I can still see my grandmother Mimi standing over that stove stirring, or sitting around chatting while the ladies stemmed and picked over tons of apples!  She taught us this one well. (Adapted to modern use)

Tart apples
Apple cider or juice
Granulated sugar
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Ground nutmeg

Wash, stem and cut fruit into eighths.  Place into large canning kettle with an inch of cider or juice, cover and heat over medium heat until fruit softens, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Cool product, then puree in blender and strain through sieve or food mill to remove excess seeds.  Measure product back into kettle.

For each cup of pulp, add 1/2 cup granulated sugar.  For every 8 cups, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons cloves and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.  If you like a darker, stronger butter, increase cloves to 3 teaspoons.  Stir mixture thoroughly and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  If product begins to stick to bottom, reduce heat slightly.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until butter mounds in spoon and has a gloss to it (slightly under 220° F on jelly thermometer).  Ladle into hot pint jars, removing any air bubbles with knife and leaving 1/2-inch headroom.  Seal and process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool overnight before removing or tightening rings.  Label and store in cool, dark place. This product gets better if allowed to "cure" for several months.  4 pounds of apples will make 8 half-pints.

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