Overnight Apple Butter
Total Time: 60
Yield: 6 pint jars or 12 1/2-pint jarsNote: For more information on home preservation safety, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation at www.uga.edu/nchfp.
Ingredients:5 pounds (about 10 large) mixed apples, peeled, cored, and cut into medium-size pieces
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 whole star anise pod
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups fresh apple cider
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Instructions:1. Turn a slow cooker on high and add all ingredients. Cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be bubbling vigorously. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour more. Remove and discard star anise pod.
2. With the lid set slightly ajar, continue cooking until apple butter is dark brown and thick, 7 to 9 hours more. The longer it cooks, the darker and thicker it will be. Stir well and pass through a food mill or strainer, if desired, to remove any lumps (I skip this step). Sterilize canning jars by boiling in the large stock pot for ten minutes (do not boil lids or bands). Turn off the heat and leave jars in the water until ready to use. Wash lids and bands in hot, soapy water, then dry with clean paper towel. Use tongs to remove jars from water and divide apple butter among them, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace at top of each jar (see Note). Use tongs to put the lids on top of the jars, then use your hands to gently screw on the bands (don't tighten all the way).
3. Bring water in large stock pot or canner back to a boil and submerge filled jars, making sure they're upright, for 10 minutes to seal. Transfer jars to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Check the seals after they cool; they should be tight. If the lids still pop when you press on them, refrigerate the apple butter and use within 3 weeks. Otherwise, screw the bands on completely and store. The sealed jars will keep for 8 to 10 months at room temperature.