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Capon Springs Apple Butter

Once my father married my stepmother, Columbus Day was spent at an unsuspecting "resort" in West Virginia. Yes, I heard it - "resort in West Virginia." Some of the main events included the flag raising and anthem every morning at 7 am right before the breakfast bell, a large community room with metal puzzles, cider, and snacks right before the dinner bell, and a nightly bonfire with camp songs and roasted hot dogs. (It cracks me up remembering Uncle Craig acting out the motions to "Well, you PUSH the damper in, and you PULL the damper out. . . and the smoke goes up the chimney just the SAME.")

A couple other endearing memories of the place: once you order your drink of choice or how you like your eggs the first morning, the next day, they are already on the table. And in the main house, there is a "gift shop" of sorts with various candies and sundries in case you need a fix. And THERE, THERE in that hollowed-out phone closet under the stairs was the liquid gold - the Apple Butter. It was on the table at every dinner, and there it was in jars to take a piece of Capon home with you. We would hoard 6 jars a piece (Yes, they had a limit.), and I loved to visit Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Craig to steal some of THEIR stash and slather on his homemade waffles.

And so, this fall when visiting an apple barn and marveling at bushels and bushels of apples grown on Dayton Mountain, it was time to give an apple butter recipe a try. It was an experiment then, but having earned Uncle Craig's stamp of approval, I gave it another whirl in the confines of my Steamboat Lake get away.

I love that leaving the peels on is both EASY and adds a necessary PECTIN factor to the butter.

6 lbs apples, cored and chopped into 1/4" pieces. LEAVE PEELS ON!

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 T ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

~ Chop apples with peel on but removing core. (About 9 large or 14 medium).

~ Add to slow cooker and sprinkle on brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla.

~ Stir entire mixture till the apples are coated.

~ Slow Cook for 10 hours.

~ Use immersion blender or regular blender to puree till smooth. (Gosh, do I love the immersion blender. . .)

~ You CAN then cook for 2 hours longer to thicken. I have done it both ways and actually prefer the version where I didn't cook for another 2 hours. It was more like Capon Springs - more apple fleshy and less jammy.

~ I canned half pint jars in a water canner for 10 minutes, and they will last the year. (But I'm actually planning THESE for Jenn this weekend! - More soon on that.)



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