Who Else Lost Their Virginity This Month?

September 12, 2011   24 Comments

See those lovely jars of apple butter? Snack Girl made them in a fit of unbridled domesticity.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

For the first time in my long 42 years, I canned jam. Yes, I am no longer a canning virgin. Take THAT Martha Stewart!

Now, before you click off this post because it sounds so overwhelming (making apple butter and canning), I will tell you that I spent very little time on this project.

All I did was cook some UNPEELED, cored, chunks of apple in my slow cooker for hours, blend, and then can the product. You could also skip the canning and just freeze your apple butter if you don't want to attempt the canning process.

Why had I never tried canning? Well, I guess I thought it sounded time consuming and if I messed up - there was botulism to fear.

I decided to give it a try and went to my hardware store and bought 12 mason jars with lids, and something called a "jar lifter" 'cause it seemed like something I needed. You can reuse the jars for your future canning adventures - you just need to buy new lids.

The key to my success was that I started small. I canned just 6 - 8 ounce jars of apple butter - and they all fit in my stock pot. Here are the steps involved:

  1. wash the jars and lids
  2. boil jars for 15 minutes in large stock pot
  3. remove a jar, dump out hot water
  4. fill with hot apple butter leaving about 1/2 inch at the top of the jar
  5. put lid on
  6. boil filled jar for 5 minutes
  7. wait 12 hours and test seal (repeat sealing if it didn't work)

It wasn't that tricky and now I have 6 jars (5 now because we ate one already) of homemade apple butter! I can see how once you do this twice, you got it DOWN.

The apple butter recipe is adapted from one my favorite cookbooks, "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" (see below). The only attribute you need to make this is patience because it takes many hours to cook.

The apples are in season where I live and I can go pick them for all sorts of apple based dishes. My son had this apple butter in his Rice Krispies and my daughter took it to school in a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich.

(I just spoon it into my mouth when I think no one is looking.)

Anyone else try canning? Please share.


Apple Butter Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

makes 6 cups = 48 one ounce servings

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5 pounds apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut up
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch of salt


Coat a 6 quart slow cooker with non stick cooking spray. Add all the ingredients and toss the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 12 hours (or overnight). Remove the lid and cook for additional 2-4 hours on low to reach your desired thickness.

Blend apple butter with an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender.

Store in covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 months, freeze for up to 3 months, or can the apple butter via the above procedure. Use 6 - 8 ounce jars for canning 5 pounds cooked apples.

Nutrition Facts

One serving is 33 calories, 0.1 g fat, 8.5 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g protein, 0.9 g fiber, 4 mg sodium, 1 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 24 )

Do you boil the lids and rings also?

@Sandra - I did not boil the lids and rings - the instructions in the Ball Jar box said not to boil the rings - so I just washed them. I figure the boiling for 5 minutes killed any bacteria that might have remained on the rings.

Great question!

I, too, canned for the first time this summer! I made peach jam. It was so much fun, and it is so satisfying to know that you made your own food with only ingredients you want in it.

I too did some canning this summer. My girls and I bought a ready made canning set and made good use of it. We picked strawberries and made Jam, made pickles from the garden and made peach jam from local peaches that were on sale...yum!!! Apple butter looks good, what other things can it be used for??

I too am a 42 yr old canning virgin! Your story just inspired me to give canning a try. It's always been one of those things that sounds too intimidating to attempt! This gives me yet another excuse to use my slow cooker. :)

@Kim D. - well you use apple butter like jam - put it in yogurt, cottage cheese, spread on toast, add to vanilla ice cream, pancakes, waffles - could spread it on bananas for a banana apple treat. It is seriously delicious.

I've been thinking of doing this for Xmas and give the jars as gifts. Your post has definitely given me an extra boost to go for it :)

My grandmother used to make absolutely heavenly apple butter with a recipe that included using red hots (cinnamon candy) for the cinammon flavor. Apple butter is not quite the same to me otherwise. I guess I need to google and see if I can find a similar recipe online. (Yes, Lisa, I know that makes it less healthy, but tough! I want my grandmother's apple butter!) ;)

Do you think honey will work instead of sugar?

Thank you so much for this recipe! My grandmother and aunt would make apple butter every fall. They had a giant cast iron pot and would make it over a big bonfire all day long. I was just telling my husband how much I missed her apple butter. The only thing that I don't think could ever be recreated in this recipe was the taste of the bonfire that would be in every bite of apple butter. I am going to try this recipe so my boys (4 & 1) can have a little taste of my childhood every morning on their waffles. So much better than syrup! Thank you!!!

Forgot to ask -- what kind of apples do you think would work best?

I just canned for the first time, too! Just a week ago!

I made some Cucumber Lime Jam. It sounded wonderful, and it tastes fantastic, but I can't figure out what to eat it on. I guess we'll try it on toast. ;-)

I too have attempted canning for the first time this summer. So far I have made hot pepper pickles, strawberry-nectarine jam, salsa, hot pepper jelly and sweet pickles.

I love to hit up the discount produce rack for fruit butter! I canned a lot of peach and pear butter this summer and apple is next. Yummy! Congrats on your canning leap, it opens up a whole bunch of new opportunities!

What did you use the jar lifter for and is it needed?

@Michele -honey will work!

@megrcam51 - I think any apples will work - I used McIntosh - you can adjust sweetness and spice at the end of the cooking - so just try any apple variety and make it taste the way you want.

@Jennifer - I used the jar lifter to lift the hot jars out of the boiling water after I sealed them. You could use tongs and it would work. The jar lifter made things a bit safer (no fear of dropping or spilling hot water all over me) - but it is not necessary.

Great questions! Lisa

I had a similar experience last year. I found 3 plum trees, 2 fig trees and a peach tree in an alleyway behind my aunts house and since they were unclaimed, I stripped every ripe piece of fruit off of them. Then I had to figure out what to do with all of that fruit before it spoiled! Lol. It turned out to not be hard and I haven't bought jam in a year and a half.

How long does it last once you can the apple butter and when you open it when it is canned how long is it good after the seal is broken??? Thanks!

@Angela - they last a year in the jar - and it lasts about 2 weeks in the fridge after the seal is broken (maybe more).

Thanks for the question! Lisa

I have never canned anything but I love the idea of keeping it healthy, controlling the sugar etc.. What happens to the skins? Do they cook down? I do apples on the stove alot but I am always peeling them and its a pain. Thanks.

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