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Fall Fest: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter - Virtually Vegan Mama

It’s Fall and what a wonderful time it is. The spectacular fall weather has arrived with all its amazing colors and smells – this is hands-down my favorite time of year. It’s also apple season, where I can enjoy apple picking with the kids, cooking and baking with this healthy and delicious fruit. I’ll tell you something about myself you didn’t know – I can’t eat raw apples. I know, isn’t that just terrible. I have a slight allergy to certain raw fruits and vegetables that make my mouth and throat itch out of control. It’s drives me crazy because all I ever want to do is bite into a fresh, crispy apple. However, I can enjoy apples if they are slightly cooked, so don’t feel too bad for me. ;)

Apple butter, a delicious fall treat that my family and I always enjoy. It’s fun to spread on a piece of toast, on pancakes, or use it in baked goods. I made delicious red beans with apples and cinnamon last night for dinner and threw some apple butter in – it was outrageous! Don’t worry, I’ll post this for you next week. I have to make it again today because it was so good and there are no leftovers, so I’ll make sure to write down the recipe.

I’ve always wanted to make apple butter and found out by looking at several recipes online that it is not as healthy as I thought it was. Some recipes called for 2 cups of sugar – yes, 2 CUPS OF SUGAR! Apples are naturally sweet, so why do you even need all this sugar? So, what I did was pull a few recipes online for the basic measurements like how many apples do I need and cooking times. I thought making an Apple Date Butter would be a good idea because I love dates – as you all know – as a healthy alternative to sugar because of its taste and nutritional benefits. I am glad I did this because I’m really happy with the resulting flavors. This Apple Date Butter is naturally sweet with hints of cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.

I borrowed this nifty apple/peeler/corer from my sister-in-law and was so excited to use it. I thought it would save me time and be lots of fun for the kids to use because they love to help.

Have you ever used one of these? It was really cool for like five apples until it stopped working. Either I was doing something seriously wrong, or it’s just been used too many times and is broken – I’m going with broken. Oh well, back to regular peeling, coring and slicing.

After all your apples are sliced, just throw it all into a slow cooker with remaining ingredients and give it a good stir. Now cover and let cook for many hours until it’s a dark brown, gooey deliciousness. We made this on a Sunday and just felt so relaxed hanging out and enjoying the wonderful fall aromas that filled the house.

Where’s the reduced slow cooker picture you may be thinking? This was done way past my bedtime, so I just canned the finished apple date butter and went to bed, forgetting all about another picture. *YAWN*

Some changes I would make to this recipe would be to reduce the amount of dates by half or increase the amount of apples. If you don’t want to add the dates at all, just use 2 cups of unsweetened apple juice – preferably fresh – instead. However, I thought I would end up with at least 4 pints, but only ended up with 2 1/2 pints. I have plenty, but with the amount of time it took to cook, I would have liked some more to give away and freeze. Oh well, I’m still thrilled with the results, it came out fantastic.

Printable Recipe

Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter

Cook time: 9-11 hours

Yield: 2 ½ pints

Ingredients:

5 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup chopped dates, pitted

1 cup unsweetened apple juice, fresh is best

1 cup water

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Fill slow cooker with peeled, cored and sliced apples. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Cover and cook on low setting for 9-11 hours or until the butter is a thick, dark brown, spreadable consistency. Stir occasionally.

If there is too much liquid, remove lid and cook on high until thickened. Keep an eye on it and stir it
occasionally to prevent burning (this all depends on your slow cooker). You can also transfer to a pot and heat on the stove until it reduces if the slow cooker isn’t doing its job.

Transfer to canning jars and store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Enjoy!

Does anyone have an apple or fruit allergy similar to mine?

Have you ever made apple butter before?

What’s your favorite way to enjoy apples?

 

For more great recipes using apples, check out the following links.

CIA Dropout: Apple-Roasted Duck

Cooking Channel: Add Apples to Your Salad

The Cultural Dish: Apple Cider Martini

And Love It Too: Fried Apples (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Vegan)

From My Corner of Saratoga: Easy Skillet Apple Pie (A Southern Living Recipe Reviewed)

Haute Apple Pie: Baked Apple Pancake

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Apple Pancakes

What’s Gaby Cooking: Apple Cake

FN Dish: Savory Apple Recipes

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Apple and Caramelized Onion Soup

Zaika Zabardast: Chocolate Apple Pie Breakfast Pop Tarts

The Sensitive Epicure: Pan Fried Apple Rings (Gluten-Free)

Glory Foods: Caramel Apple Upside Down Cupcakes

Daily*Dishin: Apple, Bacon, Feta Salad With Maple Vinaigrette

Dishin & Dishes: Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

Cooking With Elise: Wholegrain Apple Oat Pancakes

Dishin & Dishes: Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

Cooking With Elise: Wholegrain Apple Oat Pancakes

October is #applelovemonth!
Please join in on the #applelove fun by linking up any apple recipe from the month of October 2011. Don’t forget to link
back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #applelove event! The twitter hashtag is #applelove :).

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29 Responses to Fall Fest: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter

  1. That apple contraption is super nifty! It’s so nice to see an apple butter recipe without a ton of sugar in it. And I love that you added dates!

  2. It smells so good in this blog!

  3. Woah..! tons of apple recipes.. i have got make some apple butter this season! that contraption is fun!

  4. Pam says:

    What a nice changeup from standard apple butter to include dates

  5. i am totally bookmarking this. i LOVE apple butter. yay you found the mason jars! :) submit this post to our #applelove bloghop! http://juniakk.blogspot.com/2011/10/apple-bloghop-gf-quinoa-apple-muffins.html

  6. Samantha says:

    I have actually never tried apple butter…this looks yummy though!!!!

  7. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    Hi Jennifer-This apple date butter looks divine! Time to break out my slow cooker to make it. I don’t have any fruit allergy and actually prefer cooked apples to raw ones;) that apple peeler is so cool!!!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Lora =)

      It really is yummy and I just put some in our morning smoothie and it is awesome! There are so many recipes you an use it in..making a red sauce this morning, might throw some in there with some cinnamon…mmmmmm….=)

      xoxo

      Jen

  8. What a gorgeous color! I’ve recently gotten into dates – looks like I have my next recipe to try :)

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks Deanna =) I love love love dates and it was agreat addition to standard apple butter…let me know how it works out for you. =)

      xoxo

      Jen

  9. Megan says:

    Funny, I was just thinking about making apple butter. We went apple picking recently, so we have quite an abundance of that beloved fruit. As soon as I get some mason jars, I’ll do this!

    • Jennifer says:

      I’ve always been wanting to make this and it’s so much easier than I thought and so yummy =) Let me know if you try it out.

      Thanks!

      xoxo

      Jen

  10. Sarah says:

    Sadly I do know several people with fruit allergies! The ones I know of in my circle are Asian pear, strawberries, pineapple, grapefruit, bananas, avocado (which is mine!) and kiwi. I adore making apple butter at home though, I usually roast mine since I can’t be bothered to drag out the crockpot!

    • Jennifer says:

      Oh, you can’t eat avocado?!? I don’t know if I could live without that, but I’ve learned to live without apples, cherrie, pears and raw carrots so I guess we do what we have to do right? and also get used to it!

  11. Sara says:

    Can’t wait to try this!! Apple butter without cups and cups of sugar…definitely my cup of tea. :) Your fruit allergy sounds really similar to my sister’s (raw apples, among other fruits, give her an itchy throat). She has what’s called oral allergy syndrome. Basically, she’s allergic to certain types of pollen or weed that are in the same family as the plants that produce the fruit that give her an itchy throat when she eats them. For some people, regular allergy shots help, but results won’t be seen for at least a year. She started a few months ago, so we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll allow her to eat raw fruits again next year!

    • Jennifer says:

      It’s so good and sweet on it’s own who needs all that sugar?!? Thanks for the info, I’ll look into that myself =)

      Jen

  12. [...] Virtually Vegan Mama: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter [...]

  13. JayKayTee says:

    Jennifer, did you post your red bean and apple cinnamon recipe? You’ve piqued my interest and activated my saliva glands on this mere mention.

  14. [...] Virtually Vegan Mama: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter [...]

  15. […] Southern Living Recipe Reviewed) Haute Apple Pie: Baked Apple Pancake Virtually Vegan Mama: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter Big Girls Small Kitchen: Apple Pancakes What’s Gaby Cooking: Apple Cake FN Dish: Savory […]

  16. Carissa says:

    Your allergy is called “Oral Allergy Syndrome” and I also have this issue. People with environmental pollen allergies can react to the proteins in fresh fruits and veggies. If you take an antihistimine before eating it, you should be okay. : )

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks Carissa, yeah someone told me that a while back but I’ve just never done anything about it, I just avoid the foods that give me a problem…I would be interested in trying an antihistimine before eating to see if that works though…I’ll report back and thanks again for the info!

      Jen

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