We use apple butter to make our lovely applejacks. It’s a concentrated, caramelised apple purée with a little sweetener (if needed) and spices. It can be used as a spread on toast, or a filling for pies and slices, and because its concentrated, a little goes a long way.
This is not an exact recipe, but just a general idea. It bottles or freezes very well and will keep for many months. It will take you 2 to 3 hours to make, but the results are well worthwhile
If bottling, then you will need to be confident with the process – it’s not difficult, just keep everything clean and hot. You can recycle existing jars and lids, but do make sure any rubber seals are perfectly clean and in-tact.
You’ll need a large quantity of local apples. Probably about 4 apples per “1lb” jar, some sugar (or other sweetener such as agave nectar or rice syrup, or stevia, xylitol, etc.), and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
- Core and quarter the apples and put them in a large pan with a little water. No need to peel but cut-out any damaged or bruised parts. Bring to a simmer and gently stew the apples until they form a nice soft mushy sauce. (About 20 minutes or so)
- Pass the apple purée through a food mill, or give it a whiz in a food processor to make sure you have a nice smooth sauce.
- Add some sugar or other sweetener to taste (but not too much as we’re now going to reduce and concentrate it!) Also add in some of your favourite spices – a little cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, or just a spoon of mixed spice to taste, but again, not too much.
- Back in the pan and slowly simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce reduces, thickens and turns a very dark brown colour. This may take an hour or two! When a spoonful of sauce leaves a ribbon pattern on the surface it’s time to bottle or freeze.
Follow your usual procedure for bottling jams, chutneys, etc. hot sterilised jars with airtight lids.
To freeze: pour into freezer bags, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing, allow to cool and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge before use.
Store opened jars and defrosted packs in the fridge and use within a week.