We picked mostly empire apples for the apple butter, which I loved for their sweetness.
I peeled them (mostly...) and chopped 'em up. Man, I wish I had one of those apple peeler devices. Peeling by hand took forever.
I added water to the pan and simmered them until soft.
Then used my immersion blender to blend 'em up into applesauce. You could stop there and just can or freeze your homemade applesauce, but I really wanted apple butter. I added cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, sugar and honey. Only about a half cup of each sweetener though, since all the cooking concentrates the natural sweetness of the apples.
To go from applesauce to apple butter it needed to simmer and sputter for a few more hours.
I kept in on low heat and stirred every 15 or 20 minutes.
It got really messy, splattering sticky goo all over my stove top, despite the splatter shield I used.
But it was worth it! After about 5 hours it got nice and thick, sweet and spreadable. I used my immersion blender once more to ensure a smooth texture, then canned it so I can keep it in the pantry for cold winter days.
I really enjoyed the process! Next year I want to try pear butter- anyone have suggestions or recipes?