Simply Homemade Series: Apple Slump and Apple Butter

Last Saturday we went apple picking with friends to a “you pick” farm in MD (Homestead Farms). We brought home a whopping total of 58 lbs of apples!

We have six people in our family and normally go through about 2 big bags of apples per week, so I knew we would be eating quite a bit of this tasty fruit, but I also knew that with that amount of apples, I would be putting many of them to other uses. Thankfully, we have a plan!

At the farm, we picked Jonagold, Fuji, Cortland, and Empire apples. Ok, so actually we picked about 20+ pounds of Jonagold and Fuji each before realizing that we could only pick a handful of the other varieties, but its all good! We got to taste them all and it was really fun to find out the different flavors and uses for each type.

Here’s just a little 411 on a website (why reinvent the wheel, right?!) called “The Definitive Guide to Apples and their Uses” which includes all the different types of apples, what they are best used for (eating, baking, etc) and how long they will keep at home.

My eldest daughter loves all books by Louisa May Alcott and found this treasure, “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” a few years ago at a library bookstore. It’s a lovely read with your kids for the upcoming holiday season and also has one of our new favorite family recipes in the back of the book: Louisa May Alcott’s Apple Slump.

My daughter (who is eight) was so excited to be able to make the recipe by herself for Thanksgiving last year and she also just made it for our church home group this past Sunday night to make use of some of our abundant apples! Because it’s so much easier to take a photo of the recipe and share it that way, here it is:

Another yummy way to make use of lots of fresh apples is Apple Butter! If you’ve never tasted apple butter, you need to! I’m sharing my mom’s recipe for Crockpot Apple Butter which I have made several times over the years. It’s a yummy treat to spread on fresh biscuits (I’m Southern and love them), toast, or to stir in your morning oatmeal in the cold weather seasons with some fresh chopped pecans or walnuts. You can also use it in sweet and savory dishes such as the ones listed here.

Suzanne Earley’s Crockpot Apple Butter (you’re now famous, mom!)

18 cups of prepared apples (sliced, cored, peeled – note, you can get one of these gadgets that does all three!) Mom’s note: don’t worry about the exact number of cups; Just keep putting them in the crock pot until it’s almost full.

Mix the following items into the apples in the crock pot: 3 1/2 – 5 cups sugar (depending on how sweet your apples and your taste buds are!), 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Put on HIGH temperature setting for 10-12 hours, or overnight, stir occasionally. When texture can be stirred to consistency of thick apple sauce, turn off. Refrigerate, freeze, or put in Ball Canning Jars and process for 10 minutes or put in clean Ball Jars with new lids and fill while apple butter is very hot, invert jars as soon as lids are screwed on. Leave inverted 10 minutes, then turn right side up.

This makes a good Christmas gift!!!

I hope I’ve given you some new fun “kitchenspiration” to get you motivated to do some apple picking (or selecting from a local farmer’s market!) and enjoy the fruits of the season. Happy picking, everyone!

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