Sugar and Spice

What happens if you take applesauce and keep cooking it?


With a few more spices, you’ve got apple butter.

This recipe can be divided or multiplied. I double it for 40 pounds of apples. Well, 40 pounds of apples minus enough to make a pie.

Apple Butter

18 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 cups sugar, divided

Fill a crockpot with applesauce. It might not all fit, but that’s ok, you can add more later. If you’ve got 2 crockpots you could get both going – that’s what I do.

Add spices and 1 cup of the sugar.

Prop the lid on your crockpot with a wooden spoon or chopstick so the steam can escape.

Set the heat on low.

Cook for 6 hours, then add the rest of your sugar and more sauce if you’ve got room.

Continue cooking and adding applesauce as needed until it looks and tastes like apple butter. Mine generally takes a total of about 22 hours. (That includes the 6 hours above.)

Prep 12 half pint jars.

Ladle hot apple butter into jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.

Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes after water has returned to a boil.

Sweet Synergy

Fruit butters are greater than the sum of their parts.


As moisture evaporates, the flavors of the fruit condense. Simple ingredients develop depth and meld into ooey gooey goodness.

Plum Apple Butter

12 plums, pitted

8 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered

1/4 cup water

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Bring fruit and water to boil in a large pot.

Simmer til tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree.

Add remaining ingredients.

Bring back to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer, uncovered to let that moisture out, for about 50 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it is thick enough that a dollop on a plate doesn’t spread.

Store in fridge or freezer, or process in water bath for 15 minutes.

Yields 4-6 half-pints, depending on the size of the fruit and how thick you make it.