5 pounds of apples
3 cups water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
3 ½ cups white granulated sugar, adjusting as needed according to instructions
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 lemon, zest plus juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
Wash the apples in cool water. Slice into quarters, or smaller pieces if using very large apples.
Add 3 cups of water to a large pot, turn stove to medium-high, and bring to a rolling boil. Add apple cider vinegar and the sliced apples. Cover pot, reduce heat, and let apples simmer for about 30 minutes or until soft. Firmer apples will need more cooking time. Stir apples as needed as they cook down.
Use a spoon to remove apples and place in a food mill or sieve. Force the pulp through the sieve and place in separate bowl below. Measure the amount of puree you now have as you place it back into the sauce pot. Add ½ cup sugar to each cup of apple puree, adjusting amount as needed, starting with ½ cup of brown sugar and the remainder of white sugar. Stir sugar until it dissolves. Add cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Add the lemon zest and juice. Add nutmeg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
Stir well to incorporate all flavors. Place sauce pot over very low heat and let simmer for about 6 hours, stirring as needed to keep from burning. Mixture will thicken over time and splatter if not watched carefully. As it thickens, place a spoonful on a saucer that has been kept in the freezer. Swipe your finger through the butter to see if it will leave a trail or if it runs back together; if it leaves a trail it’s ready.
Note: I had 9 cups of puree, so I opted for 4 cups of sugar.