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Thick and soft, with a lush aftertaste of creamy apple, cinnamon and spice, apple butter is just glorified applesauce, minus any butter whatsoever. Its spreadability gives it likeness to butter but that's where the similarity ends. Originally from colonial America, late fall was when people celebrated the densely rich apple butter by initiating a ritual of cooking it in huge copper kettles over an open flame through the course of the day.
When making apple butter, the caramelization process is very important. It's what gives this preserve a creamy, deep brown texture. Apple cider adds a little bit of a tart flavour and ground cinnamon, ground cumin and cloves for example, add a certain zing and spice, neatly offsetting the sweetness with a gentle fiery aftertaste.
How to select
• Bottled apple butter pales in comparison to the fresh homemade varietal.
• Nevertheless if you just have to pick up one 'off the shelves' the manufacturing and expiry dates are a must to check.
• If making the thickened sauce at home, select apples that are particularly sweet.
• These apples are then stewed in cider and are cooked continuously for a little more than 8 hours.
• Also, using sterilized bottles to store your apple butter is equally important to the cooking process.
• Exquisite for a chilly fall morning. Apple butter hits is delicious when spread over toast that's warm, and crisp. Seasoning it with either ground cinnamon or cloves will keep you warmer for longer.
• Sandwiches will never taste the same with a little dressing like apple butter.
• An excellent addition to pies, tarts and puddings.
How to store
• The shelf-life of apple butter is more prolonged than apple sauce owing to the longer period of cooking.
• Label your bottles of homemade apple sauce with the expiry date.
• Depending on the method used to make your apple butter, it could last from 18 months to about 2 years, in the fridge, longer if frozen.
• While apple butter is high in its calorific value, it does offer some amount of fibre because of the number of apples used.
• It is also said to contain a higher potassium content in comparison to apple sauce.
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