Apple Butter

The Canadian Food Experience Project: The Canadian Harvest in Ontario


2012 was a horrible year for Ontario apple growers.

Fluctuating temperatures in Feb and March brought out early blooms on already fragile branches  resulting in tremendous frost damage once mother nature returned to normal in April. The final result? Over 80% of apple crops were destroyed.  With that loss employees hired less apple pickers and grocery store offerings were meager at best.Any food lover can attest to the horrible quality of one our most versitile fruits.

But like most Canadian industry farmers held strong and firmly believed they would bounce back this season.  And true to mother natures fickle fancy expectations were satisfied 100 times over.  2013 has turned out to be one the apple industry best years with lots of rain to produce large fruit and better than average yields.  Some farmers are scrambling to find enough workers to keep up with this years production.

I had the priviledge back in August to visit Martin’s Fruit Farm with fellow bloggers Jenny, Robyn, Meg, Rhonda, Brittany, Charmian, Isabelle and organizer Christina. Orchard owner Steve Martin personally gave us a tour of his acreage and apple production plant and we were able to see first hand how well the trees have bounced back, branches drooping from the weight of all it’s fruit.

And with all this bountiful harvest apple recipes have been exploding across the internet.When I found myself with 4 baskets of Fuji, Honey Crisp, Spartan and MacIntosh apples I knew I needed a recipe that used up tons of apples but would be really easy to make.That’s where this apple butter comes in.

One of the greatest things about this recipe is that it’s simple, tailored to your sweet tooth and rarely tastes the same each time you make it.  That’s because you can use any combination on apples.  I mixed tart and sweet.  All you have to do is core them.  Leave the peel. It’s good for you.

Apple Butter from The Tasty Gardener

You add the amount of sugar you want to use.  You don’t even need to add sugar. You can just add the spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Apple Butter from The Tasty Gardener

You can cook this two different ways.  You can place all the apples, sugar, spices and 1/2 cup cider vinegar in your slow cooker and forget about  it for 4-6 hours or you can throw it all into a pot and cook it down on the stove 45-60 minutes.  The slow cooker method results in a darker mellower flavour.

Apple Butter from The Tasty Gardener

After the apples are cooked and soft, whirl them through the blender until super smooth and viola apple butter.

Apple Butter from The Tasty Gardener

Perfect as a glaze on ham, spread on a piece of toast or in the case of a friend of mine eaten with a spoon.

Apple Butter from The Tasty Gardener

Any way this is a great treat using an amazing Ontario product.

Apple Butter
Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 6 1/2 lbs apple, cored, cut in wedges
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker on high for 4-6 hours or on the stovetop over med-high heat for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Carefully scoop apples into blender in batches and puree until smooth.
  3. The apple butter can be used once it has been cooled or you can follow proper canning procedures to preserve it for the future.


Two of the most unique things about Canada is our landscape and weather.  While beautiful and rugged it can be an angry little troll when it feels the need to remind us who is the boss.  But with true Canadian personality it’s not long before it apologizes profusely giving back more then it took in the first place.


The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us.   I hope you enjoy my experiences and stories with Canadian food and hope you get a chance to check out the other bloggers involved. Please leave a comment below about your own experience based on the monthly theme.

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  1. You make it sound so easy. I have never made it, but love to eat it. Next year, this is what I will do with some of the apples on our tree. This year, we gave them all away as I just couldn't do it all with dad ill. Ours are so sweet, probably no sugar would be needed, but the combination of apples is definitely the way to go to get a full bodied depth of flavour. Looks gorgeous, and apples are definitely a Canadian harvest jewel as they are prolific from sea to sea. :) V
  2. I have never made apple butter either but is something I used o pick up from the Mennonites at St Jacobs Market growing up in Ontario. It is found widely here in the Okanagan as well in our fruit belt. It needs to come from my kitchen.


  1. [...] it, one third to the local food bank and one third to the picking crew to divvy up. Heather at The Tasty Gardener from Toronto, Ontario, shares her recipe for Apple Butter which everyone will be able to use due to [...]

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