I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter

It’s Fall and what a wonderful time it is. The spectacular fall weather has arrived with all its amazing colors and smells – this is hands-down my favorite time of year. It’s also apple season, where I can enjoy apple picking with the kids, cooking and baking with this healthy and delicious fruit. I’ll tell you something about myself you didn’t know – I can’t eat raw apples. I know, isn’t that just terrible. I have a slight allergy to certain raw fruits and vegetables that make my mouth and throat itch out of control. It’s drives me crazy because all I ever want to do is bite into a fresh, crispy apple. However, I can enjoy apples if they are slightly cooked, so don’t feel too bad for me. ;)
Apple butter, a delicious fall treat that my family and I always enjoy. It’s fun to spread on a piece of toast, on pancakes, or use it in baked goods. I made delicious red beans with apples and cinnamon last night for dinner and threw some apple butter in – it was outrageous! Don’t worry, I’ll post this for you next week. I have to make it again today because it was so good and there are no leftovers, so I’ll make sure to write down the recipe.
I’ve always wanted to make apple butter and found out by looking at several recipes online that it is not as healthy as I thought it was. Some recipes called for 2 cups of sugar – yes, 2 CUPS OF SUGAR! Apples are naturally sweet, so why do you even need all this sugar? So, what I did was pull a few recipes online for the basic measurements like how many apples do I need and cooking times. I thought making an Apple Date Butter would be a good idea because I love dates – as you all know – as a healthy alternative to sugar because of its taste and nutritional benefits. I am glad I did this because I’m really happy with the resulting flavors. This Apple Date Butter is naturally sweet with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.
I borrowed this nifty apple/peeler/corer from my sister-in-law and was so excited to use it. I thought it would save me time and be lots of fun for the kids to use because they love to help.
Have you ever used one of these? It was really cool for like five apples until it stopped working. Either I was doing something seriously wrong, or it’s just been used too many times and is broken – I’m going with broken. Oh well, back to regular peeling, coring and slicing.
After all your apples are sliced, just throw it all into a slow cooker with remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. Now cover and let cook for many hours until it’s a dark brown, gooey deliciousness. We made this on a Sunday and just felt so relaxed hanging out and enjoying the wonderful fall aromas that filled the house.
Where’s the reduced slow cooker picture you may be thinking? This was done way past my bedtime, so I just canned the finished apple date butter and went to bed, forgetting all about another picture. *YAWN*
Some changes I would make to this recipe would be to reduce the amount of dates by half or increase the amount of apples. If you don’t want to add the dates at all, just use 2 cups of unsweetened apple juice – preferably fresh – instead. However, I thought I would end up with at least 4 pints, but only ended up with 2 1/2 pints. I have plenty, but with the amount of time it took to cook, I would have liked some more to give away and freeze. Oh well, I’m still thrilled with the results, it came out fantastic.
Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter
Cook time: 9-11 hours
Yield: 2 ½ pints
5 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup chopped dates, pitted
1 cup unsweetened apple juice, fresh is best
1 cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Fill slow cooker with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
Cover and cook on low setting for 9-11 hours or until the butter is a thick, dark brown, spreadable consistency. Stir occasionally.
If there is too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Keep an eye on it and stir it
occasionally to prevent burning (this all depends on your slow cooker). You can also transfer to a pot and heat on the stove until it reduces if the slow cooker isn’t doing its job.
Transfer to canning jars and store in the refrigerator or freeze.

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