Spiced Apple Butter (& competition results)

We moved house in June of this year and spent the whole summer and much of autumn sanding and scraping and painting, getting the interior of the house the way we wanted.  Only now (just in time for the sleet and cold winds) are we turning our attention to the garden.  I have plans for a raised vegetable patch (just one at first), my first greenhouse, a wider range of herbs than I’ve ever grown and both a plum and a damson tree.  It’s going to be great.

Until all of this comes to fruition (ha!)  I shall satisfy myself with the one food producing plant currently in the garden: the apple tree.  And it’s a cracker with lots and lots of big shiny red globes hanging heavily.  We have so far feasted on dozens of these lovelies just as they are, cooked them with pork and parsnips, grated them into porridge and sliced them onto cheese sandwiches.  A few kilos have also gone into making the following spiced apple butter.

The basic recipe comes (again) from friends in Finland, Jan and Kaija, and is perfect on its own without the spices.  With the cinnamon, cloves and allspice, however, it’ll make your kitchen smell like Christmas on an icy, grey afternoon.

Spiced Apple Butter

1 kg apples

100ml water

1 stick of cinnamon

3 cloves

1/2 tspn allspice

200-400ml sugar (according to taste)

  • wash apples, remove bad bits and cut in slices. Leave peel, pips etc in.
  • boil water, add apples and let boil until soft. Stir often so apples don’t burn.
  • mash apples then strain through sieve or food mill.
  • add sugar a bit at a time and mix until taste is right.
  • cool then store in sterilised jars or freeze.

________________________________

And finally, the competition results!  The winner and recipient of The Flavour Thesaurus is….  Ozarkhomesteader!  He/she won me over with this story of a talented cat:

“Have you ever heard a screech owl? (If you’ve seen “My Cousin Vinny,” you may remember the screech owl in the movie.) I live in a rural area in the US, and until recently we didn’t have any close neighbors. What happened the first time my husband left town for a week? A screech owl parked itself in a tree right next to my porch and screamed every hour or so all night long. It was hilarious when it wasn’t terrifying.

Fast forward 5 years, to a day last week. The screech owl was back, but it was far enough away from the house that in our bedroom with the windows closed we couldn’t hear it. Our female cat could hear it, though, and every time it screeched, she screamed for a half hour afterwards. I finally figured out what was setting her off when I moved to her side of the house to try to comfort her. I seriously question her sanity. Nothing would calm her down either. She would seem to be relaxing, but then the owl would screech, and off she’d go again.

Of course, she’s pretty vocal and seems to like imitating area animals. She’s got a feline version of coyote howl. She does the rooster across the road. And when we had goat neighbors, she baaaaaaa’d. If you don’t believe me, we were headed out of town and had to tell our friends who were staying in the house to expect all sorts of bizarre sounds from her. When we got home, the friends said that they hoped we wouldn’t think they were crazy, but was it just possible that the cat was trying to sound like a goat? Yep, she was.

Too bad I can’t get her to do it on command.”

P.S. Fellow bloggers, for a chance to to win a copy of Stephanie Reynaud’s Ripailles head over to Mince and Skirlie who’s starting a new food blogging event.

11 thoughts on “Spiced Apple Butter (& competition results)

  1. I’m so excited! The cat is extraordinarily entertaining, entertaining enough, I guess, for a win with my hastily typed tales of her. I’ll have to give her extra treats today. :-)

    You can see the cat here: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/until-we-can-keep-animals/

    and here, last picture: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/tracks-in-the-snow/

    and here, last picture, looking like a cat who could torment her family: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/september-summer-squash/

  2. Well, goodness, in my excitement about the book I forgot to comment on the apple butter. We too found serendipitous apples when we moved here, and our favorite thing to do with them is make apple butter. Unfortunately, bad weather has cut the harvest so much in the past two years that we’ve had too few apples left for butter making. Yours is making me glad that I’ve made arrangements to go to a regional farm on Saturday for their big apple-butter festival.

  3. I have been meaning to send you pics of my garden. You were kind enough to write a post at my request YEARS ago and I finally did a raised bed garden that was an absolute success. I have posted a link to my FB garden album. Thanks for the inspiration and information!

  4. We have a real glut of wonderful apples so this is a very welcome recipe. If it isn’t a strange question – what do you use it for? I imagine it would be totally delicious straight from the jar or spooned over yoghurt/porridge etc. Do I have the right idea?!

  5. Pippa – Might try to teach Marco to make some other animal noises!

    Ozarkhomesteader – Love the cat pics. What a cutie!

    Kim – I’m not sure I know what a crockpot is… Shall have to look it up.

    Domestikate – I assume so.. So long as the jars are sterilized… Don’t know for how long though. It doesn’t last long around here!

    Tunesia – I remember! Wow, your garden looks amazing. It’s got me all excited about growing next year in my new garden. And it was lovely to see your dog again!

    Antonia – Yup, porridge is my favourite was to eat it or ice-cream. Like it on toast too. :)

  6. A Crockpot is a ceramic, electric slow cooker.

    I hope you don’t mind my jumping in to answer about the apple butter and canning. I use 10 minutes for pints, 5 for half pints, and 20 minutes processing time for quarts, starting timing from when the water comes to a full rolling boil.

    I added another cat pic and talked about your give-away at the end of this post:
    http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/test-driving-a-new-broomstick-at-the-ozark-folk-center-2/

  7. Thank you again for the book. It arrived safely, and it looks like it’s got irresistible ideas for favor combinations.

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