Crockpot Apple Butter

3 quarts peeled, cored apples*
2 1/4 cups sugar, more or less to taste*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Dash nutmeg

* For more efficient cooking, fill the crock pot with apples. Measurements above are for a 3-quart crock pot, adjust ingredients accordingly.

Peel, core, finely chop and measure apples. Mix apples with remaining ingredients and fill crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours, reduce heat to low and continue to cook 9-11 hours, stir occasionally (Apple Butter will reduce by about half in the crock pot). Remove lid, use hand blender to puree until smooth. Leave lid off crock pot and continue to cook to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Makes approximately 5 cups

To Use: Spread Apple Butter on toast, muffins, pancakes; spread Apple Butter on cheese sandwich; serve Apple Butter with cottage cheese; spread Apple Butter over pork roast while the roast is cooking; serve Apple Butter with roast; add a little Apple Butter to pork gravy; add Apple Butter to baked beans, to taste; mix Apple Butter with plain or vanilla yogurt; add Apple Butter to cooked oatmeal or granola; add Apple Butter to baked goods to decrease fat in recipe and increase moisture.

* Adjust sugar to taste preferences and apple sweetness. Tart apples, such as Jonathan’s or Granny Smith, will require more sugar but have a better flavor. Sweet apples, such as Gala or Golden Delicious require less sugar. I like to use a combination of tart and sweet apples. Start with a lower amount of sugar; taste part way through the cooking process and add additional sugar if needed.

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