Today I’m featuring Susabelle Kelmer with how she preserves summer in a jar.
Preserving Summer in a Jar – Susabelle Kelmer
One of the best things about having an overflowing garden and orchard is that you can save some of that yumminess for the cold months. Having a large garden plot in a community garden allows me the wonderful bonus of having access to apple and plum trees, and two giant champagne grape vines. The fruit from these make wonderful additions to my pantry.
We eat apple butter all year round, slathered on biscuits, thinly spread on top of the cream cheese on a bagel, worked into the holes of a waffle, etc. Apple butter is super-simple to make, cost effect because it doesn’t use a lot of fancy ingredients, and provides that bit of sweetness you sometimes need on your toast. I’m going to share my recipe here, so you can try it too! The recipe is scalable – you can make larger or smaller batches, and it can cook when you aren’t home through the magic of the Crock Pot!
Susabelle’s Apple Butter
12-14 cups apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks (use a tart apple for best flavor)
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (if sweet apples, use less, if tart apples, use more)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the apple chunks in a large crock pot. They will fill the crock pot so that the lid may not even fit all the way down, but that’s fine. Add in the water. Sprinkle on the sugar, spices, and salt. Put the lid on and put crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours.
Stir down, getting the spices and sugar mixed in. Leave on high and continue to cook for at least 6 more hours. Cook longer for better flavor. Mine usually gets started around dinnertime, then at bed time I crack the lid a little and leave it go overnight. Total cook time for mine is 12-14 hours. Stir once in a while as it cooks down.
Using a hand blender or potato masher, work out any lumps, cook for one more hour or so, and it is done.
You can preserve this by canning (process 20 minutes in a hot water bath), put straight into the refrigerator (will only keep for about 3 weeks this way), or put in jars and into the freezer. I usually can mine, as I use them for gifts during the holidays.
Apple season is still a few months off, but I’m already looking forward to making my apple butter!
What is your favorite wintertime preserved treat that reminds you of summer?
Susabelle Kelmer is a wife and mother living at the base of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. She believes in romance, second chances, and the magic of moonlight. When she isn’t writing, she works with students with disabilities in the college environment. You can find her books and blog at www.susabelle.com.
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Younglood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”
If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.
“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”
“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”
Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.
“And what is your plan, Gage?”
“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”
Find Susabelle on the web:
Website – http://www.susabelle.com