Thursday, February 16, 2017

Recipe of the Week: Regional American Food Week 3 - Northeastern Apple Butter

The landing point of immigrants and the birthplace of our nation, the Northeastern region is rich in culture and historical cuisine.  The census bureau defines the Northeastern region as nine states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

When the pilgrims first landed in 1620, they encountered a landscape full of unfamiliar foods. Native Americans taught the pilgrims to effectively utilize fishing and farming tactics to survive. The culinary outcome led to beans, lobster stews, and succotash dishes, that have helped define this regions cuisine.

By the 19th century, Irish and Italian immigrants would add boiled dinners, pasta, and bread to the melting pot.

In Pennsylvania, Italian immigrants created the famous Philly cheese steak and in New York City, Jewish settlers created cured meats like pastrami for corned beef.  Americans of German descent developed warm comforting foods like, chicken pot pie and popovers.

The roots of apple butter lie in Belgium and Germany, conceived during the middle ages when monasteries with large fruit yards appeared.  The production of apple butter was a perfect way to conserve the fruit in colonial America, well into the 19th century.

This product contains no actual dairy butter; the term butter refers only to the butter-like thick consistency and is used primarily as a spread on bread.


Apple Butter - In Slow Cooker


6 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Fill a slow cooker with diced apples, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until mix is thick and dark brown. Stir in vanilla and continue to cook for another 2 hours.

Use an immersion blender to puree the apple butter until smooth.

Pack into small, freezer safe containers.  Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or freezer until use.