Autumn is in the air and I absolutely love it! Our youngest, Sean, just celebrated his fourth birthday on the first day of autumn and we enjoyed a wonderful weekend in the mountains. It was his turn to be king and pick everything we did and ate. Needless to say he loved every minute of it all!
Among all the wonderful things we did was a trip to the orchard to go apple picking. For the second year in a row we went to Sky Top Orchard and had so much fun. In addition to all the apple trees we went through the bamboo forest, saw all the animals, played on the playground and had apple cider donuts. What glorious fall fun!
We went last year in October for Jack’s birthday weekend. This time it was Sean’s turn. By going earlier in the season we were able to get different varieties of apples. We got galas which are our favorite, in addition to others like granny smith, cortland and ida red. Unfortunately, some of the trees were well picked so everything was up high which means the boys couldn’t climb up and reach as much which disappointed them. Jack was the only boy to do any climbing. Have no fear, fun was still had by all!
After we got home the first thing I made was an apple cake for Sean’s birthday cake. It was extremely delicious and enjoyed by all. I was unable to get good photographs but don’t worry, I’ll be making it again soon and getting it up on the blog!
Besides eating the apples with peanut butter or plain I made apple butter. The best part is that the slow cooker does all the work. This recipe is so incredibly easy, the hardest part is peeling and cutting the apples. It all goes in the slow cooker and you wake up the next morning to a house that smells incredible. Does it get any better than apples and cinnamon?!
Not only is this recipe easy, but it is versatile. It tastes wonderful on a piece of toast or a warm biscuit. Warm it up and pour over vanilla ice cream. Add some to your morning oatmeal. Use it in your favorite fall recipes for cakes and muffins. The possibilities are endless!
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
6 lbs. apples (use your favorite cooking apples, I used Granny Smith and Cortland)
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. honey
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. vanilla
Juice and zest of one lemon
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put the apple slices and water in a slow cooker and place the lid on. Cook on low for one hour; add the rest of the ingredients except the lemon juice and zest. Cook overnight at low with the lid on. After 8-10 hours place an immersion blender in the slow cooker and blend everything until smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest, increase the temperature to high and place the lid on loosely, tipped to the side. Cook for another hour or until desired thickness is reached. This time will vary depending on the water content of the apples used.
At this point you are ready to can. Following standard water bath canning methods place into sterilized jars, cover with lids and loosely place rings on. Put jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Once removed make sure all the jars sealed with a “pop” sound.
Yields 3-4 pints
**NOTES: The exact cooking times may vary depending on the size and heat of your slow cooker. Yields also vary depending on water content of the apples and your desired thickness. I got just over 3 1/2 pints. The amount over 3 pints I just poured in a jar and didn’t place in the water bath….it will keep in the fridge and get eaten quickly!