When I was 5 and we lived in Missouri (even though it ends in an “i” I do pronounce it Missour-ah. This is a fact of my life.) when we went to church, I would check out books from the church library and read those when the grown up service got boring. I checked out kids books about missionaries-those with pictures and stories about food were always the most interesting.
One of my favorites was Lottie Moon. I’m not sure why I was so captivated by it, but it stuck with me enough that a few years ago I managed to track down what book it was and reread with adult eyes, and it was just as wonderful. Anyway, there was something in that book about apple butter. To me, it was a totally foreign and intriguing sounding food. I asked one of my Sunday school teachers about it and I remember she brought me a jar of it, homemade, and I ate it on toast for a week.
Last weekend, for a friend’s birthday I decided to make some apple butter. I found a unique recipe: one that calls for rosemary as an addition. I halved the original recipe, so as to only make one jar, but if you have any math skills at all, I’m pretty sure you can figure out how to make a decently large batch.
First step is peeling, coring, and dicing the apples. If you have one of those nifty machines that does all three at the same time, consider yourself blessed.
Then you put all the diced pieces, along with honey, apple cider, a stick of cinnamon, and some rosemary into a pot and let it get all soft and mushy.
Then, put it in the blender and blend until it is pureed. Leave off the little plug at the top and cover with a towel…hot things in a blender can make that little plug explode off, which I don’t advise.
Then it goes back into the pot and into the oven until it gets thick and goopy…or more “butter like,” I suppose. It kind of tastes like applesauce, I think, but the thickness is a little different, and the addition of orange and rosemary is delicious and adds a depth of flavor. I want to try with pears next!
- 5 red apples of choice, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- juice from 1/2 orange, or one whole tangerine/tangelo
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 sprig of rosemary (or more depending on how big they are)
Place all ingredients in an oven safe pot on high heat. Bring liquid on the bottom of pot to a boil and the simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove rosemary stems (you want some, not all, of the pieces of rosemary to fall off and remain in the sauce….this will happen naturally as your stir) and discard cinnamon sticks.
Remove from heat and pour sauce into a blender and blend until it has an applesauce consistency. You are welcome to stop here and enjoy it as applesauce if you prefer 🙂
Pour mixture back into pot and place in a 275F degree oven (without the lid!) and cook for 2 hours or until desired thickness. Make sure you stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
When done remove from oven and store in jars for 1 week or longer if you go through the canning process.