Maggie Cooper's apple butter.
Maggie Cooper's apple butter. 123rf

Butter up your apples for a sweet spread

Apples are in season and therefore in plentiful supply, which usually equals affordable.

There's nothing nicer than biting into a crisp, sweet/tart apple. The season for my personal favourite, pink lady, is relatively short if you ignore their early appearance in the produce section of your supermarket. Chances are they will be "birthday apples”, fruit left from the end of last season which have been in cold storage for close to a year.

An easy way to extend the apple season in your kitchen is to make a batch of apple butter. I make mine in my slow cooker, and nothing could be easier. You can spread it on toast or bread, pour it over ice cream, or use to sweeten muffins or cakes. I use any apple other than a granny smith for this recipe. While grannies are great for pies and baking, the apple butter calls for a sweeter fruit.

Consequently, I use as little sugar as possible in this apple butter recipe, so it's best not to bottle it as it could form mould. Instead, divide it into 1-cup containers and freeze. It will keep for three months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge and use within a week once thawed. I transfer it to a pretty jar to serve at the table.


Makes: 4 cups


3kg apples (not granny smiths); 1/2 cup raw sugar; 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar; 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/2 tsp salt; 2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla essence


Peel, core and thinly slice apples.

In a bowl combine the sugars, cinnamon and salt. Layer apples in a slow cooker, sprinkling with the sugar mixture between layers and drizzling with the vanilla paste or essence.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, stirring every few hours.

The apple butter should be thick and golden brown.

You can leave it chunky or blend with a stick blender until smooth. Divide into small containers and freeze.