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Crock-Pot Apple Butter Recipe

My childhood home was nothing fancy, the typical Midwestern ranch, but the yard — oh the yard! Now it held some bragging rights. Over an acre, the back half was lined with fruit trees — 15 apple, two pear and one plum thrown in for good measure.
Early on I helped with the upkeep, and once I was big enough was introduced to the fine art of grass mowing. Over the summer I became a maneuvering expert, ducking and back bending under the heavy limbs careful not to knock the fruit to the ground. Once the seasons started to change, my “lawn-tractor limbo” was over and the fruit was ripe and ready for the picking. I grew up eating mom’s homemade apple jelly, never knowing that grape was the popular choice.
Each fall we put up jars of the stuff — peeling, boiling, crushing, straining and skimming, creating that perfectly clear jar of jelly. As much as I liked the final product, it was an all-day process and without mom’s guidance, one that I don’t have the desire to duplicate. Besides, now I prefer the spreadable texture of slightly sweet fruit butters to those sugary, sparkling jellies of my youth and, with today’s snazzy appliances, the process isn’t nearly as time consuming.
Crock-Pot apple butter is relatively easy to prepare and makes a great healthy gift for the foodie on your list, so bring on the apples!

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