Thursday, September 22, 2011

Great Fall Recipes: Apple Butter

Apples are certainly among the most popular flavors of fall and the inspiration for countless delicious apple recipes!  It makes my mouth water to think of all the different varieties of apples and the many yummy dishes to be created from them. Apple pie, applesauce, apple-walnut salad...

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to witness the making of Apple Butter - the old-fashioned way.  Meaning, the apple butter was cooked in an enormous copper pot over an open fire.

Pounds of "Delicious" apples (I forgot to ask how many pounds) had to be peeled, cored, and sliced; and then piled into huge tubs in preparation for cooking. Starting at 6am, a wood fire was lit and a copper pot was placed above the flames - but not touching the flames - and the apples were added.

"Delicious" apples prepared for cooking
Then a team of women, working in 30-minute shifts, began stirring the apples constantly as they cooked. The work went on all day.  Steam filled the little cook house as they worked and the apples became soft, and bubbly, and fragrant.

Cooking the apples
A specially-designed wooden paddle was used for stirring the hot fruit. It had a wide, rounded bottom to reach the entire surface of the copper pot to prevent burning and a long L-shaped handle so that the women could keep a safe distance from the bubbling fruit. As they worked, more apples were added to the pot and more wood was added to the fire. The stirring continued non-stop all day long.

Using a specially-designed stirring paddle
Finally, sugar and vanilla was added to the warm fruit - now a rich, brown color - and the mixture was allowed to cool a bit. Then it was carefully ladled into jars and allowed to cool completely for storage. The result was over 500 jars of apple butter!  And a new appreciation for traditional cooking methods!

Apple Butter!
If you would like to try making Apple Butter this fall (but lack a huge copper pot, an open fire, and a team of cooks), try this recipe from this English B&B and enjoy!  Apple Butter recipe from Hopton House B&B

Carol & Gus, Innkeepers
Scarborough Inn
an Ocean City NJ Bed and Breakfast

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