I love cranberries. LOVE THEM. There’s pretty much nothing you can do to a cranberry that I won’t eat. Years ago, I started making cranberry applesauce for a friend who was diagnosed with diabetes. She couldn’t have sugar, but she wanted something to add taste like jam. The cranberry applesauce had no sugar other than what was in the apples naturally, and it tasted amazing.
But it was applesauce texture. I wanted something richer, smoother, more…buttery. This recipe has plenty of sugar, unfortunately, but it’s sooo tasty that every bite is worthwhile.
Tools: large slow cooker, food mill (or strong sieve)
5-6 lbs apples (I try to use at least some Granny Smiths if canning because they contain lots of pectin, but any type of apple works. I’m a big fan of Honey Crisp as well. A mixture is good.)
1 bag frozen cranberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 cups light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
First, add cranberries, cider vinegar and apple juice/cider to crock pot and turn on low. Scrub apples thoroughly and cut into large chunks, including peels and cores. Add to crock pot.
Cook on low until apples are soft (not until they disintegrate completely). This usually averages 2 hours for me, depending on the apples. Stir occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the crock pot.
When apples are soft, put through a food mill or sieve to remove the skins and seeds. If you don’t have a food mill, force through a sieve. (I LOVE my food mill. Highly recommend getting one–great for ricing potatoes!)
Put back into slow cooker and turn on high. Add 1 cup of sugar and spices. Taste. Add more sugar and spices to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, with lid off, until some water evaporates and the apple butter is nice and thick. (I usually add about 1.5 cups sugar, but I don’t like things very sweet, so you may need to use up to 2 cups!)