True, apples make cheap, easy table art this time of year, but they're also good for other things. Eating. Cooking. (wink)
Last year, I pulled out the slicer-corer (a gadget well worth it's minimal cost) to make applesauce for the blog. This year, we'll look at apple butter. Many people avoid apple butter thinking it complicated and time consuming. Time-consuming, somewhat...complicated, no. Not if you have a crock pot, a colander and a potato masher.
I spent about 10 minutes coring and slicing 14 Jonamac apples with the tool shown above; then I added the slices to 2 cups of apple cider. After a couple of hours in the crockpot, the apples were ready to be "put through a food mill" as the recipe states it. For me, that meant pushing them through a colander with a potato masher and then disposing of the peels. I got what you see above from what you see below.
I measured the remaining pulpy, delightful sauce (OK, I stirred it around a bit and said to myself, "Hmmm, that's about 2 pints then.") I needed to know this because per pint I would add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp of cloves. Now for the time consuming part: this mixture cooks on low for about 6-8 hours, stirring every 2 or so. Freezing the apple butter is an option, but much like jelly the apple butter is easy to seal in canning jars. See here for a reminder: http://http://suburbansettler.blogspot.com/2011/06/what-to-do-with-six-quarts-fo.html
Not a lot of fuss, you just need to be a homebody that day. But in the end--that time when the dark of night is chill, but the supper table is warm and bright--a fresh, hot jar of apple butter sits under your table grace. Happy supper!