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Home canned foods are a source of justifiable pride and satisfaction. Maybe we all have squirreling insticts as we prepare for fall. At the end of a day of canning, unlike a day of any other type of cooking, it is all still there. It’s like having a savings account of food stocked in my pantry. You work for it and put it aside, and whenever you need it, it becomes a ready reserve. Home canning not only preserves the foods you eat most often but it saves you money. Home canning is a great way to help your family be more self-sufficient.
The equipment needed for canning is very simple and inexpensive. To get started, you will need a supply of pint and quart jars. I’ve found all types on the market equally satisfactory, however, the hardware stores tend to be a little cheaper; plus they might even give lessons. Wide neck jars are particularly recommended for packing tomatoes and large fruits such as peaches.
In my personal canning adventures, I started with my Best Crock Pot Apple Butter. As a beginner, I wanted something that was easy and simple to can. I don’t have a pressure cooker, so I did my processing in a water bath which worked well for this recipe.
Noel’s Kitchen Tips Best Crock Pot Apple Butter
Homemade Apple Butter easily made in the crock pot was inspired by my life growing up on an apple farm. Made with delicious Gravenstein apples!
- 6 pounds apples; peeled, cored and diced (Gravenstein are best but Granny Smith’s will do)
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- Combine all ingredients in large 6 qt or larger slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 1 hour covered. Do not stir, just keep the lid on and continue to cook.
- After 1 hour, turn down the temperature to low and cook approximately 8 hours. ***Cooking time depends on the age of your slow cooker. (Mine is an older Rival model, so I usually have the settings on high for 1 hour then turn down temp to low for remainder of cooking.)
- Stir the apple butter occasionally with a silicone spatula while cooking and scrap the sides as it cooks down.
- After 8 hours, whisk the apple butter to smooth out larger chunks with a hand mixer. Mixture will be soft and smooth. Once apple butter is smooth, remove lid to crock pot and cook an additional hour to further thicken.
There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.
Keep refrigerated after opening.
** I used Half Pint Jars for gift giving. Pint size jars would work too.