Yield: 4 half-pints.
5 lbs cooking apples
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
Peel, core and chop apples. Place in a large stainless-steel pot along with water. Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add water in ¼-cup increments if sticking occurs. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, sterilize four half-pint Mason jars, lids and screw rings.
Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Place lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off heat, remove from stovetop and set aside.
Next, either press the cooked apple mixture through a food mill or fine-meshed sieve, puree in a food processor once slightly cooled, or use an immersion blender and puree the mixture in the pot.
Once pureed, return to pot, add sugar and spices, and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir often to prevent mixture from sticking. Remove from heat.
Ladle apple butter into hot jars. Leave ¼-inch headspace. Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remember to adjust for altitude.
Reprinted with permission from Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving © 2010 by Ashley English, Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.