Tuesday, September 20, 2011

*THE* Secret Ingredient

Check out that fabulous photo. Doesn't it look like the most delicious Apple Butter ever? Cinnamon delight spread on fresh biscuits is an absolute, pure pleasure of fall apple harvest. But, what's that? You don't have an apple tree? Neither do I. That is when *THE* Secret Ingredient comes into play. 

You see, the fabulous photo above isn't Apple Butter. It is Zapple Butter. Not a single apple was harmed in the production of countless half-pint and quarter-pint jars of my sweet and spicy spread. I did manage to mangle a few monster zucchini, though. Yes, z.u.c.c.h.i.n.i. That green squash that everyone always has too much of and that grows to monster proportions in the blink of an eye is the main ingredient in Zapple Butter. 

Surprised? I was. I knew that zucchini could mimic apples in pie, but I had no idea that when boiled until tender, whirled with an immersion blender, and mixed with a plethora of autumn spices it could really and truly taste like apple sauce. Cook it down slowly for several hours and voila! It is Apple Butter...err, Zucchini Butter...err, Zapple Butter!

I am sold. There are several little jars of this scrumptious treat cooling on my counter as I type. Another batch is just about ready for a night in the slow cooker. I haven't given up on Spiced Zucchini Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting for taming my monster zucchini, but I have found another delicious alternative.

4 cups cooked and pureed zucchini (For this, I peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks about 3 of those super large zucchini that sneak into the garden; it was enough to fill my 7-1/4 quart round Le Creuset pot. I covered with water and added about 1/4-1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Boiled for 1 hour, or until tender. Drained. And, went to town with my immersion blender {also known as "the boat motor"} until it was the texture and consistency of apple sauce.)
4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

I suppose that I should have started with the instructions to cook the zucchini, but oh well...you all probably know by now that I am not a recipe developer or writer. I just cook.
Combine all ingredients (cooked and pureed zucchini through the spices) until well blended.
Pour into a crockpot or other slow cooker and cook on low overnight (at least 8 hours, but I have allowed it to simmer for up to 10 hours).
Ladle into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal. (If you are unsure of the canning process, there are many informative sites online. I am not a canning authority.) Yields about 5 pints...which I processed in 1/2-pint and 1/4-pint jars.


  1. Really??? I'm so gonna have to try this. Wow.

  2. I loved this when I found it in one of my cookbooks, even got the kids to eat it!

  3. This is a totally new idea to me. Who knew? Maybe I should reconsider the whole idea of growing zucchini.


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