It's been years since I've had homemade apple butter. I remember my mom making it when I was younger, but not recently. When we were visiting the orchard during our trip to Illinois over Labor Day, one of the treats we bought was a jar of apple butter. We have thoroughly enjoyed it, especially as a topping for homemade oatmeal.
One of the downsides of buying apple butter was the cost. The 19 oz jar we got from the orchard was 8 or 9 dollars, which is a bit steep if we want it more often than one jar a season. Turns out apple butter is just as easy as applesauce to make, although it does take longer to cook.
The recipe I used was from Dream Home DIY and it uses a crockpot, so most of the time was just idle cooking time.
My first batch was only 1/4 of the original recipe because I only have a small 2.5 quart crockpot. This batch went really well, but I did not want to do another 4 or 5 tiny batches like this.
Thankfully, Steve's mom let me borrow her 6.5 quart crockpot, which easily handled the whole recipe.
After 11 hours of cooking it had reduced by about half. Since I didn't peel the apples I used the cone colander to strain it because I wanted a smoother texture. If you don't mind the pieces of apple peel mixed in, skipping the straining would be an option.
I didn't properly can the apple butter; instead I plan to freeze it. From 1 1/4 batches I used about 7 pounds of apples and got 13 cups of apple butter. Orchard bought apple butter was about $3.80 per cup so we saved about $49 making it ourselves! Realistically this is a bit high because I did have to add a few other ingredients and use electricity for the crockpot, but these were pretty negligible expenses.
I've still got about 6 or 7 pounds of apples left so I'm trying to decide what other goodies to make.