Autumn is finally here and that means it’s time to bust out the cute boots, the endless pile of plaid flannels, cozy sweaters (even despite a heat advisory in Minnesota on the first day of fall), and go apple picking.

Apple orchards give me all the fall feels. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, and rows of apple trees can do wonders for the soul. Add on apple fritters, donuts, cookies, and ice cream – and you got yourself a happy girl.

Nick and I visited Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. The apples and hayrides are in full swing. Although the family-owned orchard isn’t a pick-your-own apples place, they do have rows of apple trees you can walk through, a store with all of the apples and apple-flavored goodies your heart desires, live music, corn maze, and hayride. Pick-your-own pumpkins are coming up in October.

Our visit inspired me to make an old classic, canned crockpot apple butter. It’s an easy combination of spices and apples, slow cooked for a good part of the day. There are so many recipes online. Mine is a rendition from a recipe I saw on food.com. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients (Yield: 3 pint jars):

  • 5 lbs apples, finely sliced (I used Gala and McIntosh)
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup apple cider

Method (Preparation time: 30 minutes) (Cook time: 8 hours)

  1. Place apples and sugar in crockpot and mix so apples are well-coated
  2. Add remaining ingredients on top
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Give it a good stir occasionally.
  4. Uncover and cook for 1 hour on low.
  5. If you want a puree texture for your apple butter, use a food processor or immersion blender
  6. Place in sterile jars with lids and process for 10 minutes in pot of hot water

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