I never knew apple butter could be made on the stove, or even in a crock pot. In my family, it was crafted in a huge kettle over an open fire each Labor Day weekend.
While Jerry Lewis spent seventy-two hours entertaining the country, the Ware clan shook apple trees, peeled and sliced apples by the bushel bucket, cooked them down to apple sauce, and took turns stirring the pot from sun-up till sundown.
In Appalachian tradition, you should put some water and a roll of pennies into your copper pot to keep the bottom scraped and prevent the apple butter from sticking and burning. If a penny should accidentally wind up canned in the finished product, then just pocket the change when you find it and keep your mouth shut.
A fifty-pound bag of sugar will sweeten about twelve or thirteen bushels of apples, but you’ll need to have heating pads at the ready for sore arms and backs. Alternatively, you could pre-medicate with beer.
Don’t attempt this project with your family of four. If you can’t call in an army of aunts and uncles and cousins, then you’ll need to throw a block party.
Yields 40-45 gallons of apple butter. Fantastic on crackers, fresh baked bread, waffles and pancakes.