The Holt’s Apple Butter

Having now lived in NYC for almost a decade, I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself something to the effect of “I’m <insert colorful descriptor> done with this place”.  The frequency of such complaints is inversely correlated with falling temperature and positively correlated with the rising rent – which happens right about this time of year.  After such declaration, the “NYC Triple Threat” invariably happens where we meet some incredible people, walk past some amazing piece of architecture, and / or have our minds blown by some experience. It’s as if New York is telling us: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Stay just a little while longer”.  Rinse and repeat, the love-hate relationship continues.

Speaking of show-offs, New York is spectacular in autumn; having a well curated upstate experience hosted by friends who generously open their home to us is a significant point booster for the NY charm offense.  You really have to immerse in this exquisite seasonal experience to make the Northeast winters worth it, almost. After a harrowing drive in the rain (thanks for nothing, New Jersey), we (h)apple-y spent our weekend against perfect blue skies eating, commiserating, and apple whipping (yes, it’s a thing).


As I swayed in the hammock gazing at the apple tree against an autumnal mountain of crimson & gold, I contemplated on the morning’s velvet dusting of first frost, the soft rustle of falling leaves in the dark night dimly lit by the milky way, and our hike in the balsam pine forest that cleansed us with its sweet breath. The whole experience felt like I was living out of the Upstater Magazine minus the d-bags and fake hipsters (ok, ONE fake hipster was spotted in a local store). And of course, this upstate experience would be incomplete if I didn’t get crushed in an aggressive game of Bananagrams while snacking on some delicious APPLE BUTTER made by our hosts.

Morning’s First Frost

Did Someone Mutter Apple Butter (An Ode to Giles & Rica)

This apple snack sure doesn’t come in a snap

Take a nap in the Adirondacks or clean up some knick-knacks

And let the goodness simmer until the red gold glimmers

Cover on cover off eight hours later

There will be no need to Stahl or mutter about apple butter

You can now Holt on to your hats and begin your snack attack!

Ingredients (many servings):

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: Long Freaking Time (8 hours)

Apples (Unpeeled) 5 lbs
Sugar 3 – 4cups (adjust based on apples’ sweetness)
Ground Cinnamon 4 – 5 ish teaspoons
Ground Cloves 1/2 teaspoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon

Directions (as told by Giles):

  1. Prepare the apples by chopping off all four sides from the core (discard cores) leave the skin on and toss them in food processor & process roughly. Don’t go too fine they will boil down. They should be evenly minced but not pulped.
  2. Throw the minced mixture in a large dutch oven
  3. Add roughly 3/4 cups of sugar per pound of apples. Go light on the sugar as the apples already have a lot of natural sugar that will come out while cooking.
  4. Mix in spices. Should be about 1 teaspoon per pound of apples (I don’t really remember but this seems close), about 1/2 teaspoon of cloves, and a just a little bit of salt.
  5. Cover and start cooking on low heat (just enough so it slowly bubbles) for 5 hours or so.
  6. Hours 5-8: Alternate between covered and uncovered mixing fairly regularly.
  7. You are going for a thick spread-like consistency so if it is looking too saucy take the top off for awhile and bring up the viscosity by letting some water boil off.
  8. Let the mix cool a little but try some while it’s hot. Jar it, save it, serve it.

Adapted from AllRecipes

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