We went apple picking late in the season this year, so the selection was waning when we arrived at Puddicombe Farms. The most plentiful trees were the Mutsu trees, and since these apples are ideal for baking we happily filled up our bags. Mutsu apples were first grown in Japan and are named after the northern Mutsu Province. They’re a cross between a Golden Delicious and an Indo apple, and are a nice balance of sweet and sour flavours.
The weather was so warm it still felt like summer and we peeled off our layers of fall clothing as we walked up and down the rows of trees.
I’ve always wanted to make my own apple butter. I first discovered this buttery jam years ago while on a detox and was impressed with how rich the apples tasted without the use of sugar. Flavour and consistency varied a lot between brands and I eventually I became addicted to the dark, sweet Wellesley apple butter, made with Ontario apples.
For my first attempt at apple butter I tried Food In Jars Maple Bourbon Apple Butter recipe. I like her recipes in general because she uses syrups or juice instead of sugar. After cooking the apples for about an hour, they’re pureed and baked in an oven for 2-3 hours which brings out the sweetness and should give the sauce a darker, richer look. I think we probably should have baked our sauce a bit longer, as the consistency tasted closer to baby food than jam, and feel as though the colour was too light as well. I would also add double the amount of maple syrup, bourbon and orange zest because I couldn’t taste these flavours at all, which was a shame because they sound like a delicious combination! Overall, the apple butter still turned out nicely and I’m planning to give some jars away as gifts come Christmas, but I’m still on a quest to make that rich apple butter that I first fell in love with.