Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Caramel Apple Butter, From Start to Finish!

Hello, everybody!! Today I'm going to make Caramel Apple Butter with the help of a vintage 'China Cap' food mill. The name comes from the shape of the strainer. The GAL saw one in an antique shop and posted a pic on facebook. I thought, "I've seen one of those!" I asked my dad and he dug around in the attic... and la voila! Edna had a great time with Cho, the China Cap Food Mill. She says that Cho is very interesting and has quite a few stories to share, mostly about 1950's housewives and their quest for perfection.
 
My friend Karina Klein saw our facebook conversation and said that she had one at her wedding... as the table decoration! She married an apple farmer and since his parents always used one for apple sauce, they decided those good memories should be part of the decoration. Clever!! She graciously allowed me to use her picture in this post. I just thought this was so sweet...
 
So, now I had the food mill. But what to do with it? My friend Mindy Postelwait swooped in to save the day by dropping off the COOLEST book of jam, jellies and preserves. (By the way, her husband Jason was in my graduating class. I have a terrible time coming up with names when I write so I asked him if I could use his. He said sure... and now he's forever immortalized in 'Leaving Liberty'. I'm not sure if it's a good character or a bad character, but his wife is still speaking to me!)
 
 
 We still have tons of apples. I thought I'd definitely try apple butter, but maybe with a twist. There was a recipe under the main one for 'caramel apple butter'. YUMMO.
 You'll need 3 cups of apple juice or cider. If I'd thought of it earlier, I would have juiced 3 cups and used that. Mmmmm..... but time was short, so I grabbed a bottle of juice from the cabinet.
 Nifty apple peeler makes short work of about 14 apples.
 Bring the apples and the juice to a boil.
 See.... Boiling.... Then turn it down to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring every now and then.
 I think this is the way to use it. At least, I'm assuming it is! Otherwise, the apple sauce would get all over....  Cho seemed happy to be perched over the pot so I decided that was the way it should be.
 Scoop out the softened apples and juice, dump them into the food mill. For aluminum, Cho certainly kept her cool.
 I had lots of helpers. I can't even get a picture in there... She was a bit shocked at our kitchen, overrun with small people, but Cho said she loved the feel of their tiny hands on her wooden pestle.
 Hahahaha! I love this picture of my son. "Heyyyyyy, it's way past my bedtime and we're making apple butter! This is the life!"
 After you've pushed most of the apple mix through the mill (you can dump in the rest, or leave it out if you like a smoother mixture), return to the pot. Have I mentioned that I'm in love with my new Dutch oven??? I read those comments between Missy and... someone else talking about Lodge Ware. So, I went and got myself one of these. LOVE IT.

Ok, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 3 tbs lemon juice, and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Bring it back to a boil after mixing well.
 The house smells so good I could sell tickets.
 After it's gone to a full boil, set it to simmer with the lid OFF this time. We're going to boil off a lot of the liquid. After about 1 hour (mine took 1 1/2) fill small, sterilized jars with the apple butter.
 Leave about an inch or two of head room. Put on a fresh lid. You can re use the rings if you have them. Mindy-of-the-last-second-recipe-rescue had already given me jars and jars of blackberry jam at the end of summer. I was really hoping I didn't screw this up so I could give her back the jars with something IN THEM.
MMMMMM. Water bath canning will seal it and keep the jar fresh for a year. Here's a quick overview of that process if you haven't done it before.  water bath canning It was pretty easy!! And now I can give Mindy something when I give back her jars. SCORE.

  Edna and Cho are tucked away in the corner, giggling over my lack of an apron. I feel the need to step up my kitchen fashion. Maybe I'll pick up something pretty. But I'm not wearing make up and heels while I cook! They're just going to have to deal with a little bit of social progress.

  OK, until next time!

21 comments:

  1. Mercy -- what fun and mayhem but I'm not even going to attempt that because I just don't have the right reinforcements in my kitchen. I've never even heard of a China Cap (no offense to Cho.) Glad she and Edna had a blast. I'm sure it was invigorating for Cho to get out of the musty attic and get a gander at the next generation of cooks. But I agree with Edna and Cho, you need to get yourself a vintage apron or two. And pearls would be a nice touch. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh, I would love to wear pearls!! Can you imagine? FANCY.

      Delete
  2. Oh the memories of helping my grandmother make jelly and jam with one of those strainers. I am passionate about apple butter. And this looks so good.

    The next stove I get will NOT be a glass top. I can't use my castiron on it and I am bereft!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't? Uh oh. I've been doing that for weeks now. Unless I haven't noticed because ours is so marred from the tortilla warmer... But I googled and the answer seems to be yes, you can. Hmmmm. Not sure if we should trust the internet. I'd hate to be the one to break your stove!

      Delete
    2. I use cast iron on my glass top all the time....

      I never turn the stove up to high, though, so that might help. I think it depends on the brand of stove?

      Delete
  3. How fun and delicious! I made a lot of fruit sauce last year but with a food mill. My favorite was quince-apple-plum; it turned out delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that sounds AMAZING. I was wishing I had pears to add to the apple butter, but then realize with the caramel flavor, it may not have worked.

      Delete
    2. It works. I made salted caramel pear last year too.

      Delete
  4. Wow and yummy! You are sort of amazing, Virginia. You are Marie Curie in an apron.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I'm worried about that description. Marie Curie was scary smart. My grandmother was a chemist and although we were very alike, she was a scientist through and through... I am more of Mr. Bean in a skirt.

      Delete
  5. Oh, wow!! I want to make this! I love apple butter. And I guess the brown sugar and sugar cooking down are what makes it caramel??

    My mouth is watering! I'll definitely make at least a small batch to be eaten on biscuits. I think that's a complete dinner by itself, isn't it? If I add butter? (fruit, bread, fat). :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just had some for breakfast. Yummy fresh bread warmed in the toaster, real butter, and a swipe of caramel apple butter. YUM. I'm not a real jam or jelly fan, but I'm liking this flavor.

      Delete
  6. I love apple butter as much as the others here, but I take my hat off to you, Virginia. You amaze. I have no Cho or multiple child laborers. I will have to rely on the Publix version of this. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid the child laborers make more work than actually help. I'm not sure if you're ever worked with little kids in the kitchen, but what should take one hour, actually takes two. Or two and a half. Or two and a half and a lot of mopping.
      But Cho definitely rocked it!

      Delete
  7. I can smell that apple butter cooking from here!

    (And don't you just love that apple corer/peeler/slicer thingy?)

    The last time I did apple butter, I cooked it in the crock pot overnight, with the lid tilted to let the steam escape. The house smelled FABULOUS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh, if only they had that as an air freshener!

      Delete
  8. too much work for me and I don't have a Cho..no patience either plus I have no idea what you're supposed to do with apple butter...seriously...I'd rather have a caremel apple I think though that's me speaking from the point of view of never having HAD apple caramel butter in my life so one taste and I might understand....never understood the fascination with lemon curd either until a friend supplied me with a cute but tiny jar of the stuff one year and I thought I'd sprain my tongue trying to get the last ltitle bit off the sides of the jar...
    Susanna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love lemon curd!! Lemon curd is better, in my opinion.

      Delete
  9. Virginia, if I lived where I could get apples from the growers I might give this a try too. But alas, I'll have to sustain myself with apple memories from my childhood in Michigan. I can still taste those cider donuts. Sigh. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. YUMMY. And apples are $10 a box here. :) We get 3-4 boxes a year just for eating.

    ReplyDelete