Each year on Columbus Day we make apple butter. Not the crock pot kind, but the way our forefathers did it centuries ago. We have modernized it a little along the way.
This year there were only three couples, including my husband and myself, who came to enjoy the beautiful fall day. It was a lovely day, crisp air in the morning and a beautiful blue sky. No rain darkened our day. Everyone helps in preparing the meal and this year we had fried fish, white beans, coleslaw, french fries, hush puppies, and coconut pie. It was so good.
In the old days, the apples were not peeled until the morning of the stirring. As you peeled and sliced the apples, you put them in the kettle and they cooked. It took so much longer to cook than the way we do it. We get our apples early and peel, slice, and cook them. This year we didn't get them until the week before we made the butter. We have an apple peeler which speeds the preparation.
Usually we freeze the cooked apples, but this year we refrigerated them. Apple butter makes more quickly when the apples are already cooked. Still, it is an all day job.
You need a brass kettle with stand. Ours is small, but we don't want to make a lot of apple butter. A stirrer. Ours has been in the family for over 100 years. It has a long handle and then the stirrer part reaches to the bottom of the kettle. You have to stir constantly to keep the apples from sticking. My grandmother used to put a silver dollar in the bottom of the kettle. I guess it kept the apples on the bottom moving with the stirrer. We don't do that anymore.
We used 2 bushel of apples this year. Couldn't get Granny Smith's which are the best. Instead we had to get a sweeter apple, thus less sugar. We use Cinnamon Oil. It incorporates into the apple butter better. You do have to stir it well to get it mixed in good. Cinnamon Oil also becomes stronger with age. Start with a little.
This is our friend, Tommy Hobgood, taking his turn stirring. You can see the stirrer. It is long and hard to stir. The apple butter is wonderful. I think the best we've made. We started before 8:00 a.m.and finished a little after 3:00 p.m. It is an all day job, but worth it.