This fall, Chris and I did something we’ve wanted to do for the last few years but never found the time to do — we went apple picking.
We went to a very sweet little farm in Oak Glen, not too far from LA, called Stone Soup Farm. After a scenic drive through the mountains, we were happy to find that we got to the farm ahead of the crowd. We spent some time carefully choosing out apples and plucking them from the trees before weighing our bag of apples, getting some delicious apple cider, and picking up a few craft food items from the farm’s shop. We had such a wonderful time and because we got there earlier in the day and apple picking didn’t take too long, we managed to avoid both the crowds and the traffic (we got there around 11am and left at about 12:30). We are absolutely looking forward to going back next year, or as soon as there is another fruit ripe for the picking there!
We left with roughly 6 pounds of deliciously sweet, juicy, crisp apples, and I had the pleasure of figuring out what to do with them all. Some of these apples were destined to become a Dutch Apple Pie, but what to do with the rest?
When we were in the shop at the farm, we tried a Cranberry Apple Butter, and that’s when it hit me — Cran Apple Butter! I NEEDED to make cran apple butter, and I needed it to go on everything.
I decided to make this in my Instant Pot, although to make this on the stove or in a crockpot wouldn’t be too different, other than there’d be a lot more time spent simmering. I’m inpatient, and I wanted my Cran Apple Butter ASAP, so I chose the quickest route to get there.
This recipe made about 3 cups, and since the recipe is free of preservatives, I split the sauce into two jars and popped one in the freezer for later.
This recipe contains a bit of sugar to counteract the tartness of the cranberries, but it’s mainly fresh fruits (you can use frozen cranberries if you’d like) and spices. I also use my favorite cider (Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider is the absolute best cider, in my opinion) instead of water so that there’s an extra boost of flavor. This recipe is so easy to make, and the flavor is mildly tart, not too sweet, and full of warm fall spices.
- 5-6 medium-sized apples, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider (or any cider, apple juice, or water)
- Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot and stir. Set the manual mode to 12 minutes.
- When the cooking time has finished, release the pressure.
- Using an immersion blender, or working in several batches with a blender (DO NOT FILL TOO MUCH OR CLOSE THE BLENDER IF USING ONE!), blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Turn the Instant Pot on saute mode and, stirring frequently, cook the mixture down for 15-20 minutes or until the desired thickness is reached.
And that’s it! dump, cook, blend, and simmer. I recommend freezing some like I did, as it won’t keep longer than 7-10 days. I also recommend drizzling this stuff on everything — toast, muffins, pancakes, ice cream… you name it!