I don’t know why I am lazy during weekends, this weekend we went out for a walk in the park and also my daughter rode her bike there. It was a beautiful day after very bad rains on Thursday and Friday. While I was taking my daughter to school, I could hardly see anything except for the brake lights on the other cars, wiper was working really hardly as it was heavy down pour. Then in Sunday‘s newspaper I got a recipe of making apple butter. I wanted try it immediately, but recipe needed apple cider too. As fall came just yesterday, apple cider is not available in the store. So I decided to make it at home. Thus I made homemade apple cider and apple butter.
I have seen lot of recipes using apple cider during Christmas season. Never tried it myself, but it is really easy to make it, just cut the apples, add star anise, vanilla bean, cinnamon and zest of one orange along with some sugar and water. First you need to boil them in the medium flame uncovered for 30 minutes then cover them and cook them for another 2 hours in slow flame. When you are ready to serve just sieve it and use it as such or with booze. You can serve them with whipped cream and caramel sauce then it becomes star bucks apple cider version. If you add some booze then it become adult version of apple cider. It is easy to make and you know what is going there.
Next day, I decided to make apple butter, again this is one I have never tried it. There few other recipes uses entire fruit to make the apple butter, however I used this recipe,, where they use cored, peeled , chopped apples. First cook them with the apple cider for 30 minutes until it become soft, and then add spices. I used cinnamon, mace, nutmeg and all spice and sugar and cooked for 1 ½ hours until it become soft and brown in color. If you want really smooth apple butter, puree the cooked apples using immersion blender or food processor. It is delicious, and you can slather to your slice of bread. It has great spreading consistency compared to jam.
While making apple butter one thing crossed my mind; it is that apple butter is similar what the Indians make as fruit halwa; only difference is that halwa recipe is loaded with ghee. However in the apple butter there is no butter or any other kind of fat. It is more closely related to jam or preserve.
What is the difference between jelly, jam, preserve, conserve, butter that was the question I asked to myself. I got the answer from this page Jelly by cooking fruit juice and sugar with pectin as a jelling agent and lemon juice as an acid to maintain the texture. Jelly is firm and will hold its shape (it shakes). Generally, jelly contains no pieces of fruit, although specialty jellies, like pepper jelly, may include pieces of jalapeño or other pepper. Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit cooked with sugar, and often pectin and lemon juice. Jam can be a puree of fruit or have a soft pulp, but it does not contain chunks of fruit. It is firm but holds the shape. Preserves are fruit cooked with sugar to the point where large chunks of fruit or whole fruit, such as berries, are suspended in a syrup base. It is not smooth like jelly or jam.
Marmalade is a soft jelly, often citrus-based, that includes both the flesh and peel of the fruit suspended in a jelly base. The bitterness of the peel compensate with the sweetness of the jelly. Conserve is a mixture of more than one fruit with nuts and raisins that is cooked until it becomes thick. It is used as a spread for breads, pastries and meats. Fruit Butter, such as apple butter or prune butter, is fruit puree or pulp combined with sugar, lemon juice and spices, slowly cooked down to a smooth consistency. The butter refers to its spread ability: there is no actual butter in the product. Fruit Curd is a creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter, generally flavored with citrus juice and zest like lemon curd and orange curd.
Give it try as in fall you can get bounty of apple and pumpkin. Here comes the recipe.