Cooking Apple Butter at Yucaipa's Festival

 

Riley's at Los Rios Rancho, 39611 Oak Glen Rd. #13, Yucaipa, CA. 92399. Call: (909) 797-1005. losriosrancho.com

 

 

Cooking apple butter in the photo above, an outdoor demonstration is held each year after the fall apple harvest season at a commercial apple ranch in Yucaipa, California. Rileys at Los Rios Rancho holds an annual Apple Butter Festival on Thanksgiving weekend.


So you love apple butterr? Do you know that you can make it yourself, if you are so inclined? After purchasing a few expensive jars of apple butter in a gourmet shop, you may want to try cooking some...but maybe you don't know how. At an annual event, Apple Butter Festival, you can learn how to make it yourself, thanks to live demonstrations.


Apple growing in America before European settlement was minimal, but New England settlers imported and cultivated the comfort foods from their homeland...apples, honey and a variety of grape vines for wine, to name a few.  Over 7,000  apple varieties exist and in California ranches and farms such as Rileys at Rancho Los Rios guests can pick their own apples during the growing season, with up to 20 varieties available. In November when the apples are usually finished for the growing season, a special event at Rileys celebrates the use of apples from the farm. Timed with Thanksgiving, an event that honors the early American settlers, the Apple Butter Festival teaches youth and adults how to make apple butter, offers samples, and includes an incredible hoedown representative of farm communities' celebrations in a big barn with a small band and dancing. 

Apple consumption benefits cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and immune system health with antioxidant polyphenols, quercetin, and pectin, a soluble fiber with gentle yet highly effective cleansing properties.


There are countless recipes for making apple butter. Some of the simpler recipes utilize apple sauce that you can purchase, then cook into the dark, smooth sauce. In fact, apple butter is concentrated apple sauce to the point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes. When that process begins, apples and the apple sauce content turns deep brown and takes on a thicker, smoother consistency, thus the name "butter". Apple butter contains no butter, however. Usually seasoned with cinnamon and cloves, apple butter can be spread on buttered toast, used as a side dish, an ingredient in baked goods, or as a condiment.


What you need to make apple butter includes 4 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled and cut into chunks (the sweeter, the better so you can forget the sugar), sugar if you can't get the sweet apples, apple cider for cooking and cinnamon.
(we used Granny Smith apples)
4 c. sugar
1/3 c. apple cider
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Peel and cut up 3 quarts of apples or about 5 pounds of apples. In a crockpot, pour the apple cider onto the apples. If you plan to use sugar, also include it.  Add the cinnamon and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours. Turn the heat down to low, and cook for  8 to 10 hours. The apples should be very soft and there will be a substantial amount of juice. Next, place apples and juices in a blender or food processor. Don't fill more than half. Process apples until smooth, allowing for steam to escape while processing. Continue blending until all apples have been processed, placing the smooth mix in a bowl. Return the mixture to the crockpot. Cook uncovered on high until the apple butter is thick. This process takes approx. 1 to 3 hours. After it cools, containerize and refrigerate it for delicious dining.