I often wonder how many preppers are going to orchards and berry fields to store in bulk fresh produce, to bring it home in season and to preserve it for the winter. It’s sort of a fascinating thing for preppers, when you think about it.
This may be a rare opportunity for urban preppers to store high-quality food to which they would otherwise have no access. If they can know how to store and dry these fresh foods, planning on bugging in could be a huge help.
Apple butter is one of our favorite things to make with all of those apples. That is because it’s easy to make, it’s cheap and it’s long-lasting.
Apple Butter History
The German and Belgian monasteries had great success with apple orchards in the Middle Ages, and the yields were high. Such high yields may be a bit of a challenge, just like everything else, because the ripe fruit only lasts so long.
Need is always the mother of invention, and these monasteries have started to produce a highly concentrated applesauce, which will become the apple butter we know today. Long-term it should have been processed and stored, in the same way it is now!
Apple butter during colonial times also enjoyed great popularity here in the States. Women would have been harvesting apples during these days as they came into the season. This was a huge undertaking and in fall it took up a lot of their time.
In the 1700s, we should have been using pared apples boiled down with cider to make the apple butter. This would have been somewhat close to what we are eating in modern days, but I think it is less sweet than that. This food should have been consumed all winter but it lasted much longer than that.
- 5lbs of Apples (peeled, cored, diced)
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ Tsp of Allspice
- ¼ Tsp of Salt
Place all the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir them well to mix thoroughly.
Cook the ingredients on high for one hour.
After hour one, reduce the heat to low and cook for 9-10 hours on low, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid and continue cooking on low for 1 hour.
The more you stir the mix, the smoother it will be in the end.
Spoon your mixture into sterilized mason jars to begin the canning process.
Leave a couple inches of headspace in each jar.
Wipe the rims of the jars clean, so your apple butter can seal properly.
Screw your canning lids on but, not too tight.
Canning Apple Butter
Apple butter can be canned using the canning method for water baths. Which means you don’t even need a pressure cooker to be able to store this butter for your prepper pantry food. Let’s look at some cook times for the different types of mason jars.
- ½ Pints-Pints – 10 minutes, 6,000 ft elevation and below/15 minutes above 6,000 ft elevation
- Quarts – 15 minutes, 6,000ft elevation and below/20 minutes above 6,000ft elevation
In a large pot, you can build a hot water bath which holds all your canning jars. Place a wire rack or canning rack in the bottom of the bowl, to keep them from directly reaching the rim.
You want your jars off the rim, not touching each other and submerged in 2 inches of water.
Your processing time starts when the water returns to boil, after you’ve added the apple butter jars to the water bath.
You can cover the pot from here, and set the timer.
After processing, remove the cans to a counter that is covered with a towel. Let these cool down overnight. You could hear the occasional click of a sealing lid as the night wanes on you. External air pressure will start pressing down on these apple butter jars, sealing the food inside.
Don’t forget to mark these jars and date them to ensure you know when the oldest ones were made. It is very important because next year you might have carried it forward and it would be crucial that you know which one is the oldest.
It’s been a long time since I started down this path of preparedness. There was a time when I saw prepping topics from one angle. Now things like food and water seem like so many sided and layered opportunities to me.
The fundamentals of prepping seem almost like gems to me. From my experience, when attacking a problem from as many sides as possible, I have had the most success.
Food storage is not just about buying extra food at the store, it is about having emergency meals, long-term dry food storage, growing a garden, raising chickens and other animals, having some fruit and nut trees, learning local and native plants and trees, and knowing how to cook from scratch and, of course, preserving them.
Apple butter and the canning process are a system which can affect preparation at many rates. It means you can grow your own apples, and that food can be put up for winter. It is a full circle cycle from which we can all benefit, if we do it more often.
How much are you taking from your garden and holding for lean times?