Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cardamom Apple Cider Butter

As I mentioned before, I unfortunately did not get any pictures of the making process or end result, other than the jar, of this delicious gift. For a great shot of it, you should check out Ashley English’s Canning & Preserving book. My dear friend and fellow blogger Renai is a big fan of hers. She also got some of this apple butter for Chrisannukah/her birthday. I think it was appropriate.

If you’ve made applesauce before, this recipe will seem very familiar. It is absolutely delicious and mine made more than the yield, which was great for me since I got to eat a lot of it and share it with my family before gifting it to them (it’s nice to have a test audience even if they are your intended audience). I highly recommended grinding your own cardamom as the flavor is so good and such a welcome punch to the already delicious apples. I don’t have a spice or coffee grinder, but find that my mortar and pestle works very well. Make this while apples are still in season.

Cardamom Apple Cider Butter from Canning & Preserving with Ashley English:

Yields 6 half pints

5 lb. cooking apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1½ c. apple cider
2½ granulated sugar
1 Tb. ground cardamom or the seeds of 4 cardamom pods ground

Place the apples and cider in a large stainless steel post. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. If additional liquid is necessary, add water in 2 tablespoon increments. (I did not need this.) Remove from heat.

Once the cooked apple mixture is slightly cooled, puree it using a food processor or immersion blender or by pressing it through a food mill or fine meshed sieve. I did mine in batches in a food processor. Blend the apples until smooth but not runny.

Return puree to the pot, add the sugar and cardamom, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes until the apple butter thickens and clings to a spoon. Stir often to prevent the mixture from sticking. Remove from heat.

While the apple butter cooks, sterilize 6 half pint mason jars, lids, and screw rings. English’s canning instructions are easy to follow, but I’m not going to type everything up as they are very detailed. If you’re going to can, you should get a canning book. I have some directions here (from a previous jam recipe) to get you started and what is listed in the recipe are included here. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Place the lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and set the pan aside.

Place the hot jars on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. With the help of a canning funnel, pack he apple butter into the jars, reserving ¼” (6 mm) headspace. Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

Using a jar lifter, place the jars in the canner. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Let them stand for 5 minutes off heat and uncovered before moving them to a kitchen cloth to cool and finish processing. You know they’re sealed when the lid curves down. Decorate (or at least date) the jars and give away and eat a bunch. Or both.

This is really good on pancakes/waffles, toast, chicken, by the spoonful. It makes for a lovely gift too, if you can stand to share it.

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