Apple Butter

We’ve been having an apple butter marathon this week!

My mom is here and we were determined to use up the last box and half of apples. Four batches of apple butter later we now have over 60 delectable pints!

The house smells wonderful even if the windows are all steamed up and we’ve used every pot in the house!

We started with my favorite recipe, but after a couple of batches we improvised a little with the spices. (It’s a family joke that my mom never follows a recipe exactly as printed. “Improv” is her middle name!) We love the final product!

Apple Butter

Start with 2 gallons of THICK unsweetened applesauce. You can purchase this, or you can make your own but use very little water. We made our own using my Victorio Food Strainer.

Add 14 cups sugar, 5 heaping teaspoons cinnamon, 1 heaping teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 heaping teaspoon of cloves. Mix well.

Put in a large roaster (we used my turkey roaster) and place in a low oven (300-325 degrees). Bake for 5-6 hours stirring every half hour or so.

The butter will thicken and turn a rich deep brown color.

Pour apple butter into pint jars, seal and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Makes about 15 pints.

We could only do one batch at a time in the oven, so we improvised (Yes, my mom is the Queen of Kitchen Improv!) We put the second batch in two crock pots uncovered on low overnight. By morning the butter was ready to put in jars and process.

We still had 2 batches that needed to be cooked. So I dug out my electric roaster and put the last 2 batches in it without a lid. It worked very well. It took the same amount of time as the oven, but we didn’t need to bend over to stir, the oven was free for the bread we needed to bake and we could do more than one batch at a time.

It was a marathon, but these will taste so good all winter!

Something From Nothing: Cherry Jelly

A few days ago when the kids and I were stoning all the cherries from our cherry trees, I noticed that the containers full of the stones were filling with juice from the bits of cherry left on each stone.

Being the Thrifty Lady that I am, I put all of the stones in a colander over a bowl and let them sit.

I was amazed to gather enough cherry juice to make a small batch of cherry jelly!

I just followed the directions carefully on the box of Sure-Jell. It took me about 25 minutes from start to finish and I ended up with 3 pint jars of cherry jelly and one half-pint.

I figured up the cost to be about 62 cents for a pint and 31 cents for a half-pint. This cost included the sugar, pectin, and the flats. I didn’t include the cost of the jar or rings because I already have them and reuse them every year.

If you weren’t as set up to can the jelly as I am, it is even easier to put the jelly in the freezer after it’s made.

If for some reason the jelly doesn’t set, for no more time time or money, just rename it cherry syrup and serve it over pancakes! You’ll still be a Thrifty hero because you created something from nothing!