Apple Butter



8 pounds apples
2 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
4 cups water
Around 8 cups sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (one large lemon)
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom


Quarter, stem and skin and seed the apples, cutting off any damaged parts (you don’t need to skin them if they will later be processed through a food mill). Place in a 5-quart or larger pan with the cider vinegar and the water. Turn heat on high, stirring occasionally. When the liquid begins to boil, lower the heat to medium and continue to stir the apples every five minutes or so until they are soft and mushy.

Leave chunky or puree with an immersion blender. (If you left the skins on, run the softened apples through a food mill). Measure the remaining applesauce, and return to your pan. Cook on medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Keep the lid off so that the water can evaporate out.

Add 1/2 cup sugar for every cup of apples (8 lbs of apples would generally yield me about 16 cups of sauce after milling, which is why I listed 8 cups of sugar to the recipe list). Add the juice of one large lemon.

Dry roast your spices whole in a small saucepan on medium-high until the aroma hits your nose. Shake the pan so that the spices do not burn and continue to roast for another minute or two. Take the spices off the heat and cool. Once cooled, grind your spices in a coffee grinder and add to the pot. Taste and adjust accordingly. If you don’t like cardamom or cloves or allspice, simply omit those spices from the recipe.

Stir the pot every five minutes or so, making sure to scrape the bottom to prevent burning. Cook for ~3 hours until the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency.

If you want to can your jars for long-term storage, read up on the proper canning procedures. Otherwise, funnel your apple butter into sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator.

Keywords: food preservation, apple butter