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Planes, The Life Below, Apple Butter

If I could fly on planes every day, I think I could genuinely write a book. I’d cover chapters above the clouds, land somewhere inspiring and be off again–just me and my notebooks. I’m not sure why, but thoughts just seem to be clearer when you are gliding miles and miles above the whole world as it continues to spin. I sometimes imagine myself sitting on a plane whenever I have a big decision to make: what would I do if I was flying right now? What terrifies some people frankly calms me. I love flying. I love sitting next to a window and looking above the clouds, peering over the life below (school yards, corn fields, mountains, grocery store parking lots, parks, roads). I think about the greatness of the life below and the distances we travel. Above the clouds, we are merely dolls, suspended. Waiting to get to our destination.

When I am flying, I am reminded of the many great things life has to offer: the changing of the seasons, steaming hot mugs of hot cocoa, the purity of love, exhilaration of success, the ability to dive headfirst into something that scares you and not question it, the value of pursuing a dream. And somehow, this brings me to apple butter. The kind that is velvety and creamy, rusty-colored and spiced. The kind you could eat with a spoon out of a jar, sitting in your pajamas and reading the New York Times on a cool and crisp morning.

I must admit, in the Fall, I mourn my summer fruit. I bite into peaches that aren’t quite as juicy and ripe–the last of the season. With a sigh, I turn to apples. I thought about apples a lot the last time I was on a plane for some reason. They are so wholesome and nutritious, fresh and full of life in their crispness. The thought of apples got me thinking about how much I love this time of year, how much there is to look forward to. In that brief period of time that I spent above the clouds, I realized how much greatness lies in a great apple. How much potential….For a great apple butter.

As it happens every year around this time, I receive bag-fuls of apples from my parents’ tree, and this time, instead of making apple sauce, I decided I would try a hand at apple butter. I pieced together a recipe with the help of the lovely Wendy (of Sunchowder’s Emporia Jams) and Kim Broyce’s recipe in her Good to the Grain (still obsessed…esp. now that I know she is so sweet on Twitter!). I used orange juice for my version and a few strips of lemon zest. As it bubbled away on the stove for several hours, my entire house was encased in the smell of Fall.

Apple Butter
greatly adapted from Good to the Grain and a recipe shared by Wendy of Sunchowder’s Emporia Jams
* makes about 4 jars-worth

about 4 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes
2 long strips of lemon zest
3 cinnamon sticks
6 cloves
3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar
3 cups of orange juice

1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and lemon zest in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a little pouch.
2. Put the apples, the spice pouch and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the orange juice and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the temperature to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove the spice pouch from the apples. If you like, put the lemon zest back in (you can blend it into the apple butter and it will give it a more pronounced citrusy flavor).
5. Uncover the pot and simmer for another hour to two hours, stirring occasionally (this will keep the butter from burning). If you feel that the mixture is getting dry, add in a little bit of water or orange juice. The apples will be reduced and the mixture will become more concentrated and rusty-colored.
6. Use a hand blender to blend the mixture to a creamy, smooth consistency.
7. Pour the apple butter into clean jars once it’s cooled a bit. Store in the refrigerator.

Musical Pairings: Washed Out – Life of Leisure + Apple Butter

Smooth. Luscious. Sweet, but not sugary. Kasey’s apple butter recipe is strides beyond store bought products. It features hints of cinnamon and subtle spice. It is a great way to hold onto the memories of summer for a little longer into the Fall and coming Winter. And in that way, it pairs perfectly with one of my favorite EPs from this year: Washed Out’s Life of Leisure. Read more at Musical Pairings‘ home. –Matthew

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Posted by Kasey

KaseyProfileSunspot

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • http://prettygreengirl.com/ prettygreengirl.com

    Having tried it myself, I can attest to the deliciousness of this apple butter!I like your perspective on flying. I'm not the biggest fan of planes, but I'm going to try to incorporate a bit of your attitude!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Thanks for the seal of approval, Janet :) Flying has become an extremely great time to think about perspective for me!

  • http://carolineclunk.com caroline | surprised by joy

    I think I have found the apple butter recipe I will try this fall! I just went apple-picking yesterday and now have a way to use 4 of the 12 pounds I picked.Yummmmm! (Also, I have the same bowls from Anthropologie!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Caroline- I am so glad you'll be trying this! Also, I love Anthropologie's bowls. I always want to buy stacks of them. I also love my orange latte bowls.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15270440612156971084 NicoleD

    That is the most beautiful apple butter I've ever seen! Love the color.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Nicole: wow, what a compliment. Thank you, thank you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07818468693160385488 Sarah

    I also do my best thinking when I am flying. It makes me think bigger. What am I doing in life? Am I the kind of person that I want to be.. etc. Usually I think about what I am going to eat for dinner so its good to branch out. Also, I don't usually like to make desserts. I don't bake. I also don't really make sweet things but I am pretty excited about this one and I am going to try it! I am looking for inexpensive Christmas gifts so maybe I can do little jars of this apple butter!

  • http://muffinegg.wordpress.com Rachel

    A hand blender, of course! I just started doing a little canning and I wanted to make apple butter. All the recipe's I've seen say to use a food mill, which I don't have. My hand blender is the answer!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Rachel- whenever a recipe calls for a food mill, I tend to turn to my blender. Makes things MUCH easier! What have you canned? I'm inching closer to trying something.

  • http://limecake.net LimeCake

    oh my gosh this apple butter looks incredibly smooth and luscious! i can imagine it on ice cream, and toast….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17133232352924060797 Joanne

    Being on planes definitely does offer so much clarity and I'm not quite sure why. Something about being up in the air levels you I guess. This apple butter sounds absolutely wonderful. The perfect substitute for those luscious summer fruits that we all love and miss.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    LimeCake: apple butter + ice cream sounds heavenly!Joanne: I really like the way you said that: something about being up in the levels you. Couldn't agree more.

  • http://sharienoreply@blogger.com sharie

    Hi! I wanted to try this recipe but I had a question, if I'm going to store it does this need a water bath? It wasn't mentioned in the recipe and I'm still fairly new to canning so I want to be sure before I do anything that could sabotage my jars! Thanks!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05641448576726538534 Kasey

    Hi Sharie,I'm fairly new to canning myself, but I just poured the apple butter into sterilized jars. I did not use a water bath…Hope that helps!

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