One of our neighbours (the one who loaned me the Vita-Mix to play with) brought us a bag of apples.
But these weren’t just any apples. They were teeny tiny apples! The kind my friend Mara would appreciate.
I added my Blackberry and a loonie (Canadian $1 coin) for size comparison.
They weren’t crab apples, but we weren’t sure what variety they were exactly. They had a somewhat firm flesh, and were sweet like a gala, with similar colouring. Either way, they were way too cute.
Mom thought I should just turn them into apple sauce, but I wasn’t feeling it. I contemplated mini baked apples, but decided it would be too much of a pain in the arse to core each of them to stuff them with goodness, so I passed on that idea.
Then I saw fruit butters popping up all over the blog world, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Of course, I had to put my own spin on the tasty fall spread.
Heather’s pear butter infused with chai had me thinking a tea infused apple butter would be great. But chai isn’t my thing, so I went with a vanilla rooibos instead. I also decided to forgo any extra sweetener, to preserve the natural sweet-tart apple flavour.
After many, many, many hours of simmering, I was left with a jar of this thick, caramel coloured spread. Perfect with a little butter on a piece of toasted sprouted grain bread.
Or as a topping with almond butter on a bowl of plum filled oatmeal.
And equally delicious in a Greek yogurt mess.
Even without added sugar or canning to aid in preserving the apple butter, it should keep for a few weeks in the fridge simply due to the high acid content in the apples. Which is great, because it means I get to find more new ways to enjoy it.
Vanilla Rooibos Apple Butter
makes approx. 1 1/2 cups
This sweet-tart apple butter is infused with the flavour of vanilla, rooibos, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Unlike commercially prepared, sugar laden apple butters, this version allows the natural flavour of the apples to shine through.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 vanilla rooibos tea bags
- 6 cups cored & chopped apples
- zest & juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
1. Combine boiling water and tea bags. Steep to make a very strong tea. Discard tea bags.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until apples break down.
3. Remove from heat. Using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth in the saucepan, being careful as the mixture is hot. Alternatively, you can use a blender or food processor.
4. Return the saucepan back to the heat, and simmer uncovered on low to medium low until your mixture has the consistency of a thick, spreadable butter. This will take a long time – at least a few hours. Don’t forget to stir – you don’t want the bottom to burn, especially as it thickens more.
5. Allow to cool, store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few weeks.
Note: If you have really tart apples, you may want to add some sweetener – maple syrup would be really nice. If you can’t find a vanilla rooibos tea, use regular rooibos and add some vanilla extract, or feel free to use a different tea.