This healthy, no-sugar Cranberry Apple Butter is a pure, gorgeous fruit spread that perks up toast, biscuits, muffins, and scones — you can even mix it into yogurt, or bake with it. Even better, you make it right in the crock pot!
You’ve probably had apple butter before, it’s such a fall staple. And I’m sure you know that there’s no butter in it at all, just fresh apples that have been cooked down and pureed into a thick spread. But did you know you can also make PUMPKIN BUTTER? And BOURBON BANANA BUTTER? I love to experiment, and today I mixed cranberries with apples to make fabulously tart cranberry apple butter that I think you’re going to love. The flavor (and color!) is unique and wonderful. This is easy to make, so gather up some small jars and think about making a few extra batches for holiday gifts.
TIP: Fresh cranberries are sold in 12-ounce bags from late September through December in grocery stores — you can’t get them at any other time of the year, so grab extra and freeze them. Just put them straight into the freezer as is, in their original bags, they’ll last up to a year. Cranberries are low in calories, and high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants so they’re really good for you, especially when you eat them without added sugar.
You’ll need 5 or 6 apples and a bag of fresh cranberries for this butter (one 12 ounce bag is about 3 cups of berries.) You can use any type of apple you like, and there is no need to peel them, just remove the core and seeds.
TIP: This cranberry apple butter recipe is formulated for the crock pot, but you can certainly do it on the stove top as well. It won’t take as long, but it will require more ‘babysitting’.
Pile the fruit into the crock pot and cook on high for about 4 hours, giving the pot a stir now and then. Puree the softened mixture and then push through a strainer. This step removes any gritty bits and ensures a silky butter. Then back it goes into the rinsed out crock pot for a further couple of hours to thicken up to a spreadable consistency.
The natural sweetness of the apples offsets the tart cranberries, so I didn’t add any sugar to this at all. I recommend you give it a taste during the final stages of cooking, if it tastes too tart, just add some honey to sweeten it up. The same goes for the spices…I kept it minimal with a stick of cinnamon that lends a subtle hint of spice, but you can use more if you like.
TIP: This Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Butter will last up to a month in the refrigerator. For longer storage you may can this recipe: start with super clean jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to insure a good seal. You can also freeze the jars for up to a year: leave a little space at the top for expansion and set the jars right in the freezer after they’ve cooled down.
- 5 or 6 apples
- 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries (they can be frozen and thawed)
- 1 stick of cinnamon (or powdered cinnamon to taste)
- honey (optional)
- Wash the apples well, and cut them into large chunks, discarding the core and seeds. Add to the crock pot.
- Rinse the cranberries and add them to the crock pot. Give the fruit a stir and then cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. Give the pot a stir every once in a while to prevent sticking. If the mixture is sticking you can add a bit of water, but I didn't have to, the natural juices of the fruit should be sufficient.
- Puree the softened fruit in a high speed blender or food processor, working in 2 batches.
- Push the puree through a mesh strainer with the back of a large spoon, Force the puree through, you should be left with just a light layer of solids. Rinse out the strainer between batches.
- Rinse out the crock pot and return the strained puree to the pot. Bury a stick of cinnamon into the puree. Cook on HIGH, uncovered, for another 2 hours, or until thick and spreadable, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. When the fruit has thickened, spoon it into clean glass jars. Let cool, and then cap and refrigerate. The butter will keep for 4 weeks in the refrigerator, or up to a year in the freezer. (If you plan to freeze, leave a little space at the top of each jar to allow for expansion.)
- If you want to can your butter, make sure your jars are super clean, and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Another way to get a less tart result without adding any sweetener would be to use more apples and less cranberries, say 8 apples with 1/2 bag of cranberries.
- If you like things super tart, try my pure cranberry butter.
- If you don’t have a crock pot I highly recommend getting one…you don’t have to spend a lot, the base models are fine, and you will get a ton of use out of it. This is the one I’ve used for years.
don’t forget to pin it!
Do you love cranberries as much as I do?
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