If you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree, or know someone with an apple tree (my case), then you know apples–much like pumpkins–are one of those things that embody the ever-enchanting Fall spirit. And when life gives you tons of apples (about 20lbs worth!), you must figure out what to do with them all. This year I chose apple butter. Apple butter is a thicker and more intensely flavored version of apple sauce. Despite its name, it doesn’t actually contain any butter, but it’s usually loaded with added sugar. So of course the dietitian in me had to come up with a more nutritious version–less added sugar, more spices, more fiber and some plant protein. 🙂
If you enjoy cooking as much as I do, then you’ll appreciate the lengthiness of the apple butter process. But if you’re short on time, you can always take a shortcut and buy pre-made apple butter (get a low or no added sugar version) and “doctor it up” with all the nutritious goodies (shortcut directions below).
Anyway, (if you didn’t know) apple butter takes a LONNNG time to make. But it doubles as amazing Fall aromatherapy. And luckily crock pots are great for long cook times and you can even time it so the apples cook overnight.
Enjoy apple butter over your oats or porridge, over yogurt, on toast, in your protein smoothie, by the spoonful (my fav)–just about anywhere!
Makes approximately 2 pint jars (4 cups)
- 3 lbs of tart apples, which will need to be peeled and cored
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon + 1 whole cinnamon stick (or add 1 more tsp cinnamon instead)
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or substitute your choice sugar)
- 1/3 cup Growing Naturals vanilla or original pea protein (could substitute with rice protein) – or add more if you want even higher protein
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- Peel and core apples and dice into 1/2 inch cubes
- Place chopped apples, sugar and spices into a small to medium size crockpot.
- Cover and cook on low heat for a total of 8-10 hours until the mixture is reduced by about 50%. It should be thick and dark brown. Stir the mixture half way through and uncover for the last hour.
- Let the apple mixture cool for 30-60 minutes then transfer to a processor to puree until the consistency is smooth. (Alternately, you could use an immersion blender to puree in the crockpot).
- Pour into a bowl and add the protein powder and ground flaxseed. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
- Ladle into jars and store in the fridge.
- Mix 1-2 tsp of protein powder and 1 tsp of flax meal per 1/4 cup of pre-made apple butter.
- Add additional dashes of the above spices as needed.
Recipe Courtesy of Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian