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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce


Cooking with delicious apples

Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S., Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Regional Director, University of Missouri Extension


It’s hard to beat the juicy, sometimes tart, bite of a crisp apple. Unless you have sweet, chunky applesauce — then it’s a close competition. Apples are good fresh or cooked in pies, cobblers, sauces and butters.


Homemade chunky applesauce is a snap to make.


  1. Wash, peel and core apples.
  2. Put apples into a saucepan and cook on medium heat adding only enough water to prevent scorching. Cook until soft.
  3. Mash with a potato masher, rather than pressing through a sieve, to make chunks.
  4. Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of sugar for each apple cooked, sweeten to taste. You can also add cinnamon candies for color and flavor, or dust with ground cinnamon or nutmeg. Fresh applesauce is delicious served warm or cold. It can also be frozen.


Apple butter is also popular, and making it is a tradition for many families.


To make Old Fashioned Apple Butter, from the Ball Blue book (yields three pints), you’ll need:

  • 24 medium-sized apples, quartered (do not use windfall apples, only good quality apples should be used)
  • 2 cups sweet apple cider
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


To prepare:

  1. Cook the apples in cider until tender.
  2. Press through a sieve or food mill.
  3. Measure 3 quarts apple pulp.
  4. Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon. As pulp thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  5. Add sugar and spices. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick and glossy, about one hour.
  6. Pour hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, wipe jar rims, adjust lids and process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a simmering-water bath.


Golden Apple Butter is a variation of the traditional recipe, from MU Extension publication GH1461. This recipe yields 9 pints. The ingredients you'll need are:

  • 8 pounds apples
  • 2 cups cider
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves


To prepare:

  1. Quarter and core apples.
  2. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft.
  3. Press through colander, food mill or strainer.
  4. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for 2 minutes. Apple butter is done if it remains mounded on the spoon. Or, test for doneness by spooning a small amount onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the apple butter, it is ready for canning.
  5. Fill hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
  6. Process in a boiling-water bath — 10 minutes for half-pints or pints and 15 minutes for quarts.


Lately there has been more interest in making apple butter without added sugar. Artificial sweeteners can be used but, since some lose their sweetness when heated, wait to add the sweetener until the product is cooling. Regardless of the type of artificial sweetener used, this lite apple butter should be stored in the freezer or refrigerator.


Here’s a recipe for Lite Apple Butter (makes 10 half-pints). You’ll need:

  • 6 to 7 pounds cored and sliced ripe apples
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 drops cinnamon oil
  • artificial sweetener to equal two cups of sugar


To prepare:

  1. Heat the apples and water, covered, over medium heat until tender, stirring frequently.
  2. Press through a sieve. Reheat and add salt, cinnamon oil and sweetener.
  3. Cook to the desired thickness.
  4. Pour into containers. Cover with tight-fitting lids. Cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer.


For more information, see MU Extension publication GH1455, Quality for Keeps: Fruitful Canning or GH1502, Quality for Keeps: Freezing Fruits.


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Last update: Friday, September 02, 2016