It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.

It’s an inevitable Awkward Holiday Moment – a neighbor or friend knocks on your door bearing gifts, and you’re caught flat-footed (and empty-handed). In addition to these well-meaning elves, there are also teachers (between them, the kids have FIFTEEN), co-workers, and other people with whom it’s become customary to exchange gifts.

All that giving adds up! Fast!

Last year I made Pumpkin Pie Spiced Nuts to give out, which were a big hit. This year I got even more daring and decided to make and can apple butter. I used this tutorial as a guide, but made several modifications. My recipe went something like:

Two three-pound bags of granny smith apples (about 22 apples)
Splash of lemon juice
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup apple cider
Several generous dashes nutmeg

I cored and chopped the apples, but did not peel them (you’ll see why in a minute). I threw everything in the crock pot and let it cook on low overnight. When I woke up, I removed the lid and cranked it up to high for an hour and a half.

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At this point, my house smelled awesome.

I busted out my immersion blender and gave the apples the what for. And guess what? All those apple peels? Obliterated. The mixture was silky-smooth. I poured it into my (sterilized) 4 ounce mason jars, wiped the rims, fitted the (heated) lids, screwed on the bands, and threw them into the boiling water canner. Ten minutes later, I had 22 jars of apple butter – I could only get 20 in the canner, so two went straight to the fridge.

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My only expenses were for the apples and the jars, so this was a very cost-effective project.

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So pretty! And Jason and the kids all gave it two thumbs up. They like it on toast, but I’m thinking about mixing into oatmeal, or getting crazy and serving it over Brie. Mmmmmm.

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I hope your holiday preparations are going as smooth as…. apple butter. Yuk, yuk, yuk.

 

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