Apple butter is a tasty autumn treat and is such a versatile condiment. Although not really butter at all, it is a thick, rich, smooth version of applesauce. It can be used on toast, pancakes, stirred in oatmeal, or even on a cheese plate. However, making apple butter is a laborious process. You might be wondering if you can make a large batch of apple butter in the fall, when apples are in peak season, and freeze it for later. Our team has researched this topic, and we have the answer for you.
Freezing apple butter is a great option if you want to enjoy this autumn treat any time of the year. Follow these steps to properly store your luxurious apple butter in the freezer.
- Make sure the apple butter is the right texture for freezing. If the apple butter is thick and creamy, it is ready to freeze.
- Remove the apple butter from the heat and let it sit until it is cool to the touch.
- Ladle the apple butter into freezer-safe containers, leaving ½ to 1-inch headspace in each container.
- Seal the containers and put them in the freezer.
The actual process of freezing apple butter is much simpler than the process of making the apple butter. Keep reading to find out more about freezing apple butter, what containers work best for freezing, and how long this decadent treat will last in your freezer. We will even provide a recipe for you to try and some ideas on how to use this sweet treat.
Why Freeze Apple Butter
Apple butter is similar to applesauce in that both are made by slow-cooking apples. That said, apple butter has a much thicker consistency than applesauce. Buying apple butter is an option, but making homemade apple butter can give you a feeling of satisfaction and pride.
As noted above, making apple butter can be a very tedious and time-consuming process. That's why it is smart to make a large batch and freeze it for later. You don't want to repeat this process every time you want to use this delectable condiment. Freezing apple butter will preserve its shelf-life, and it takes no time at all. You don't want any of your hard work to go to waste.
How Do I Store Apple Butter Without Canning?
While canning is probably the most common method of storing apple butter for a long period, the freezer is also a good option to preserve your apple butter. Canning can take a lot of time and work and sometimes proves to be unsuccessful. Here are a couple of methods you can use to store your apple butter.
Using freezer bags to store your apple butter is a great idea when you want to use as little space as possible. Ladle your cooled apple butter into the freezer bags, making sure to leave space at the top.
During the freezing process, the apple butter will expand. Try to remove as much air as you can from the freezer bag before sealing. This will help prevent freezer burn. Seal the bag about halfway and use a straw to suck out any remaining air if you are finding it hard to remove the air.
Lay the apple butter flat on a cookie sheet and continue to stack each bag on top of each other. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer, and when the apple butter is frozen, you can either stack the bags of frozen apple butter or store the bags standing in a row. This method takes up much less freezer space.
Just like jam, apple butter can be stored in the freezer in mason jars. Storing the apple butter in mason jars will also give it a rustic appeal. Mason jars are freezer and plastic safe and make great vessels for freezing apple butter.
Again, make sure the apple butter is completely cooled before placing it in the mason jars for freezing. Remember to leave that headspace at the top of your jar as well because expansion during freezing will occur. You don't want to end up with a broken jar!
If you choose to store your apple butter in mason jars, you must sterilize them before use. Sterilizing the jars will ensure a longer and safer shelf-life. Some dishwashers come with a sanitize cycle. Simply place the jars and lids in the dishwasher on this cycle to sterilize your jars. Use them immediately as they can become contaminated if stored for later use.
If you choose to sterilize your jars without using your dishwasher, follow these steps below:
- Scrub your jars in hot and soapy water
- Thoroughly rinse with water, removing all soap
- Submerge the jars in water and boil for at least 10 min
- Remove the jars with tongs and place them upside down on a kitchen towel to dry
- Try to keep the jars warm until use
- Place the lids in hot water for 10 minutes (do not place the lids in boiling water)
Freezing your apple butter in plastic containers is another great option. Make sure you buy containers that have tight-seal lids and are freezer safe.
Wash the containers thoroughly before using them to store your apple butter. Just as with the other two storing methods above, make sure you leave some space at the top for your apple butter to expand during the freezing process. These plastic containers stack easily in the freezer for convenient storage.
With all the above methods, write the date you place them in the freezer somewhere on the freezer bag, mason jar lid, or plastic container lid. This will help you know if the apple butter is still good and how long it's been sitting in the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Homemade Apple Butter?
Apple butter can typically last in the freezer for several months or up to a year if stored properly. Place the frozen apple butter in the refrigerator to thaw out. Never leave it out on the counter to unthaw. Once the apple butter is unthawed, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. If the apple butter has not been used within a month of sitting in your fridge, throw it away.
How Do You Know if Apple Butter Has Gone Bad?
As mentioned earlier, frozen apple butter should be used within a year, and apple butter in the refrigerator should be used within a month. If you are unsure if your apple butter is safe to consume, there are a few things you can check. The best way is to smell and look at the apple butter.
Spoiled apple butter will have a rancid odor, nothing like the smell of fresh apple butter. If you see mold or spores forming on the apple butter, discard it right away!
Apple Butter Recipe
Now that you know how to store a large batch of apple butter, here is a recipe you may want to try. The spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg give this recipe a warm, delicious flavor. Peeling, slicing, and coring the apples are the hardest part. Remember, making apple butter does take time, but the result is well worth the effort.
How Do I Use Apple Butter?
Homemade apple butter can be used just like you would use jam, but we have provided some other creative ways to use your homemade treat.
- Add it to your grilled cheese sandwich
- Use it in place of pumpkin puree in recipes
- Brush it on your pork chops or chicken the last few minutes of cooking as a sauce
- Swirl it into cake or cupcakes
- Place it in a bowl on a cheese plate
- Use it as a topping on cinnamon rolls
- Toss some over your roasted veggies the last few minutes of cooking
- Use it to make a fall-inspired cocktail
As you can see, you're not limited to using apple butter on toast or rolls. Experiment with your apple butter, and you may find a new way of using this flavorful spread.
As you can see, apple butter is not limited to use in the fall and can stay in the freezer for up to a year. Whether you choose to store your frozen apple butter in mason jars, plastic containers, or freezer bags, this is an autumnal condiment that you can enjoy throughout the year. We hope you have found this article "a-peel-ing!"
Click on the links below to learn more about freezing other types of food: