I still have a lot of apples that I can’t let go to waste so am going to make some apple butter. I’ll share the recipe I use and then a sandwich with it and with one of my favorite foods, bacon. It makes a great picnic sandwich if you are picnicking this Labor Day weekend.
4 lbs of good cooking apples (Granny Smith well suited)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
Sugar (depending on how much apple pulp you have)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.
Cut them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Ladle apple mixture into a chinois sieve and using a pestle force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below. Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Cook uncovered in a large, thick bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)
There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.
Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.
Peanut Butter, Apple and Bacon
Some of my favorite flavors combined into a beautifully toasted, scrumptious sandwich.
1/4 cup apple butter
8 slices your favorite bread
1 large green crisp apple
8 slices applewood smoked bacon (or plain bacon that your have painted with maple syrup)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 to 3 tbsp. butter
Lightly toast 4 slices of your favorite bread. You are going to grill the toast, so only lightly toast so both sides of the bread are toasted. Spread the 4 slices of bread with the apple butter. Top with apples and bacon. Spread one side of remaining bread slices with peanut butter; place (spread side down) over the apples and bacon. Spread sandwich tops with some of the butter.
Preheat griddle or very large skillet over medium heat. Carefully spread bread with butter. Place sandwiches, buttered side down, on griddle. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until bread is golden and sandwiches are heated through.
Variation: Want to add a little more sweetness to it, paint your bacon with some maple syrup before you bake it in the oven or you can drizzle a little honey over the apples on the sandwich.
Have a great Labor Day week end. Be happy and may God bless you and yours.