September makes me think of Johnny Appleseed. Every year.
It’s the kid in me.
While I typically don’t much care for apples, the grade school legend of ye olde John Chapman and his bohemian, apple-sharing, philanthropic ways always brings enough nostalgia to make me crave them.
Nostalgia, not hunger, is the best seasoning.
When my sisters and I were younger we would make apple butter+peanut butter sandwiches. Who needs jam when you have this smooth, silky, spicy spread?
But have you seen the ingredients list on a container of store-bought apple butter recently??
Evaporated Apples, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Spice And Natural Flavoring
WHY two different kinds of corn syrup?! Why have any corn syrup at all?! Apples are sweet enough on their own! And when you have a crockpot, you can toss together the ingredients in less time than it takes to drive to the store. And I live in a small town. The store is eight minutes away. I mean what I say.
Start with about five apples. I used three fuji apples and two jazz apples. I don’t understand the obsession with using only granny smith apples in cooking. I eat granny smiths straight. I cook with whatever I have on hand (which will never, ever be red or golden ‘delicious.’ Them things are nasty!)
Chop ‘em into wedges. I have an apple core-er and slicer, but I totally forgot about it until after I’d already dirtied up my knife. Ah well. Goes to show how often I eat apples!
Put the apples in a crockpot with one cup of 100% apple juice (I used Simply Apple kind), two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or your preferred combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and/or allspice), 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Set on low heat for about 18 hours, or until thick and saucy.
Blend using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor.
Spread on bread. Peanut butter and pots-for-hats optional.
(makes about two cups of finished apple butter)
Recipe lightly adapted from Eating Bird Food