Apple butter is an easy and traditional gift you can make yourself. Just one recipe makes multiple servings of this sweet, wintry treat so that you can cross multiple people off your gift- giving list. If you want to give something to coworkers, the mailman, neighbors, or just to a lot of your friends, a homemade gift ensures that everyone feels special, without you having to spend days scouring stores or slaving away with crafts. Jars of homemade Apple Butter, decorated with pretty custom can labels, are gifts that everyone will love!
This Apple Butter recipe makes six half-pint jars. You’ll need a large pot or a slow cooker, a strainer, and a lot of patience for this one! You’ll want to start any canning recipe by sterilizing the jars and lids. Make sure the lids will seal properly, and wash the jar parts in hot, soapy water. Load the jars and lids into a large pot, and cover them with water. Let them simmer over medium heat, keeping everything hot until you’re ready to use them. You can keep the jars and the lids in their own pots, for easier access and assembly. Just don’t let the lids boil! Keep the bands at room temperature, or you’ll burn your fingers.
DIY Apple Butter Canning
In your large pot or slow cooker, combine the following ingredients:
4 pounds of apples, cut into quarters. Don’t let anyone tell you that Granny Smiths
are “traditional,” you can use any variety you like!
1 cup of apple cider, apple juice, or apple cider vinegar
2 cups of water
3-4 cups sugar. This depends on how sweet you like it!
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 lemon, juiced and zested
photo attribute: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mofoods/
Cook everything together over high heat for an hour. Now here’s the easy part: Set the heat to low and simmer for 8 hours. Stir occasionally, once an hour, until your Apple Butter is thick and dark. While you wait, go online and find a template for some custom can labels. Many craft bloggers design their own to share with their readers. They’re available in almost any theme you could want. You can download these and fill in your name or the names of your intended recipients. They’ll appreciate the customized touch.
After you’ve waited patiently for eight hours, put the mix through your strainer to catch seeds and other bits. Spoon it into your jars, leaving about a quarter inch of air at the top of each jar. Put your lids and bands on the jars, and place them in a boiling-water canner for ten minutes. If you don’t need the jars to last long, you can just store them in the fridge.
Once the jars have cooled, get ready to decorate them! You can print out your custom can labels on sticker paper. If you do not have any sticker paper, glue and paper will work just as well. Tie some shiny ribbons around the tops of the jars, or bundle the entire thing in fabric to better protect them for delivery. Your friends and family will be delighted that you spent the time on a homemade custom gift, just for them. Maybe they’ll even share with you!
Guest post by Jessica W. of Lightning Labels.