From Colonial Kettles to Modern Kitchens: The Timeless Tradition of Apple Butter Making

OilyEscapades Admin

Apple butter making has a rich history dating back to colonial America. It originated as a way to preserve excess apple harvests. Early settlers would cook down apples, often with added spices like cinnamon and cloves, in large copper kettles over an open flame. The slow cooking process, sometimes taking hours, would result in a thick and spreadable butter like consistency.

One of the reasons fall is my favorite time of year is not only the beautiful fall foliage, but our family tradition of making apple butter. Every fall our family would get together and make apple butter in a copper kettle over an open fire, just like the settlers did. It certainly was an all day affair! We started bright and early peeling and cutting apples to make applesauce. Then my Mom would prepare the bag of spices (a secret recipe she took to her grave). We would all take turns stirring the pot with a big wooden paddle until it was ready to be put into jars. Fresh apple butter is the best! I really miss those days! The picture of us is one of my favorites. You see Mom never and I mean never let us lick the spoons, whether we were cooking/baking in the kitchen or over an open fire. So my sisters and I staged licking our spoons in hopes she would catch us. And she did!! It was a perfect picture that day. It was hilariously funny and we still laugh about this picture. Absolutely love the memories our Mom created for us.

Over time, apple butter became a popular condiment and sweet spread in households. As technology advanced, cooking methods shifted from open flames to stovetops, and later to electric stoves. The process became more efficient, but the basic principles of slow-cooking and flavoring with spices remained consistent.

Today, apple butter making is often done using modern appliances like slow cookers or stovetops. Commercially, it's produced on a larger scale using industrial equipment. While its primary function as a preservation method has diminished due to modern refrigeration, apple butter remains a beloved treat enjoyed for its taste and historical significance.

Please join us in celebrating Apple Butter Festival in Kimmswick, Mo Saturday October  28 and 29 from 10a-5p both days! Oily Escapades will be there with a new apple butter soap!  Stop by and say hi! 

Until next time, leave your troubles in the bubbles!

       Oily Escapades

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