Spiced Apple Butter

Apple Butter on savvyeat.com

It had been far too long. I made apple butter last month for the first time since 2010. It isn’t that I don’t like apple butter- far from it. Apple butter is one of the easiest preserves to use in cooking and baking. Its smooth texture allows it to melt right into whatever you’re cooking, leaving behind a warm spiced flavor and a subtle sweetness.

No, the reason it had been so long is that I majorly overdid it four autumns ago. I was new to canning, and fruit butter was so accessible as a beginner. So I made batch after batch of every kind of fruit butter I could think of – peach, blueberry, cherry and of course, apple. It was enough to last us for at least two years. Between that and the shelf-full of applesauce I made that fall, I just got completely burnt out on apple preserves. As a result, I skipped them entirely last year even though our supply was close to depletion.

By the beginning of this summer, I was back to missing smooth silky apple butter, so I chose to make a fresh batch for a recipe.com freelance piece. The recipe is based off of one from Betty Crocker and I have to say, I like it better than the one I made back in 2010. It has just the right level of fall spices so that it is flavorful without being overwhelming, and the sweeting is subtle enough that the apples can shine through.

Get the apple butter recipe here!

I’ve published some other pieces on recipe.com recently as well. Check them out!

Compound Butter for Freezing

Compound-Butter

Making compound butter is an easy way to preserve fresh garden herbs. Try making butter with a single herb or a mix of several. I like to use combinations of sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil. This post was updated on October 7, 2014.

Stalwart rosemary, buttoned-up thyme, flirty sage, cheerful oregano: I can’t pull off Thanksgiving without them. Frustratingly, I know that they will go into hibernation mode, turning dark and shriveled for the winter, about a month before the holiday feast. It is their time to truly shine, and I’m going to be stuck buying them from the grocery store instead of using them fresh out of the garden? A tragedy. And that’s why I’m making herby compound butter now, and freezing it until November. I’m making two batches with oregano, thyme and rosemary, and another with just sage.  Later, I’ll slice them to stuff under the skin of our turkey, to brown and simmer with winter squash and to blend into mashed potatoes.

Thyme

Making your own herb compound butter is incredibly easy. Here’s all you need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh herb leaves

To make your herb butter:

  1. Blend the butter with the herbs until completely mixed.
  2. Press the butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap into a long, narrow log. It doesn’t need to look pretty; it will get smoothed out later!
  3. Fold the short ends of the plastic wrap in, then tightly roll up the butter in the plastic wrap lengthwise, just like the way you roll a burrito. Roll the wrapped butter back and forth on the counter to create a smooth, round log.
  4. Wrap the butter log in a piece of aluminum foil. Label and freeze.

To freeze your herb butter:

Wrap the compound butter tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil. Butter picks up odors easily, so the foil will protect it from developing off-flavors from the other foods in your freezer. The butter should be used within 2-3 months.