Apples are so versatile, I almost take them for granted. For this month's "Tigress Can Jam" challenge the wonderful and talented Cosmic Cowgirl chose a Pome to be the star of November's canning/jamming rodeo. I could have used Quinces, or even Pears, but the Honey Crisp Apples were being sampled at the Farmer's Market and one nibble had me wanting to take them home.I've made apple jam, apple jelly, apple preserves, apple rings and apple cheese, but never apple butter. Of course, there is no real butter in apple butter (just like there is no cheese in apple cheese), it's more about the consistency. Apple butter is made from apple puree that has been cooked down, most of the liquid is evaporated and you're left with this...well..fruit butter. There's no better way to describe it.Then, of course, I had to give it my spin - my take - my "if this doesn't work I sure have wasted a lot of apples" challenge for myself. I'm more than thrilled to report; it worked. The addition of fresh thyme and a pinch of dried thyme created a warm earthy and savory balance to the natural and added sugars needed to preserve the apples.Now, when would you use Apple Thyme Butter, you ask? Here are just a few ways I have been [obsessively] using this sinfully flavorful and spreadable gold:
Apple Thyme Butter
Apple Thyme Butter
* Spread on (or as an ingredient for) Oat muffins
* Turkey Sandwich, with Arugula and Apple Thyme Butter - (It tastes like a hand-held Thanksgiving lunch)
* Served as a glaze on Pork
* Mixed into Mashed Potatoes while still warm
* Licked off a spoon while spreading more on a biscuit (yeah, I did)
RECIPE: APPLE THYME BUTTER (adapted from too many books to mention, just to make sure I had the ratios for acid/fruit and sugar correct)
3 lb Apples (peeled, cored and loose chopped)
1 cup water
2 cups 100% Apple juice (unsweetened)
1 large lemon (juice to equal 1/4 cup) and zest
5-6 branches, or more, of fresh thyme
2 cups sugar
1 tsp Dried Thyme leaves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1) In a large pot, add apples, apple juice, water, lemon juice and fresh clean branches of thyme.
Bring this to a boil, then quickly reduce to lowest simmer for about 45 minutes until apples are breaking down and tender.2) Set pot aside to cool a little. Then press apple mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl to catch the puree.
3) Measure 4 cups of puree and return that to the pot. Add 1/2 cup sugar per 1 cup of puree (so, 2 cups of sugar) to the apple puree. Also add the dried thyme leaves, cinnamon and cloves.
4) Bring back to a boil and quickly reduce to the lowest simmer. Cook, stirring very often and be careful not to burn the puree as it reduces, for 1 - 1 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your pot).
5) When the Apple Butter is a good thick consistency and the sugars have caramelized and turned it into a deep dark golden hue - carefully pour into sterilized jars, seal and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. (If not preserving: pour into clean containers, cool and refrigerate covered, or freeze for later use.)
Now, that I've posted this, I'm going to try Apple Thyme Butter in a Butternut Squash Casserole. You just know that will be good. If you make this and try it, or have other ideas for it - leave them in a comment. Thanks for stopping by.