Apple butter not dark enough

blueridgemtngrl(6b)October 6, 2007

This is my first time making apple butter. It tastes great and is thick but it isn't as dark as what I'm used to seeing. It is more of a golden brown than dark.

What am I doing wrong?

Also, what are cinnamon berries? I ran across an apple butter recipe that called for them.

Thanks for your help!


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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

Did you use any kind of fruit fresh or lemon juice? I used some fruit fresh last year because the buggy apples I was using took so long to peel. It ended up tasting like apple butter, but looking like applesauce. Also, could it be that the variety of apples doesn't brown as much? I have noticed that some seem to brown much faster.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:26AM
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No, the recipe I used just has apples, sugar and spices. I did reduce the sugar as my husband is diabetic and it seemed like a lot of sugar anyway.

Here is the recipe. I didn't add anything else (like lemon juice).

2 quarts apple pulp (I made this myself)
4 cups sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves

I am not sure the color matters all that much if it is the right consistency and tastes good, but just curious why others turn out so brown.



    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:52AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you reduced the sugar then there's less sugar to caramelize during the long cooking and so less browning. It may also be with the reduced sugar that what you have is closer to a spiced applesauce than an apple butter. Either way, if you enjoy the flavor and it's the consistency you prefer, it's fine. Color is not an issue.

Also, as mentioned, if you used any kind of acid or Fruit Fresh in preparation, that will help maintain a lighter color.

However, if you reduced the sugar quite a lot, then I'd process as for applesauce, not apple butter.

Cinnamon berries could be one of two things. If the recipe calls for something like 1/2 cup then it's the red hot cinnamon candies. Some apple butter recipes call for those.

The other option is cassia buds, if it's called for in small amounts, say 1 teaspoon. Most of the cinnamon sold in the US is actually cassia while most if the cinnamon in Europe is true cinnamon. Cassia has a stronger cinnamon taste with more bite to it. True cinnamon is more flowery. If you're looking at cinnamon sticks, the cassia sticks curl inward to the center like a scroll while true cinnamon is just a single curled stick or quill.

Anyway, to get back to the point. Cassia buds are the little cinnamon-y flowers dried and they are sometimes called for in old watermelon pickle recipes, etc. That's a bit less likely but is a possibility for cinnamon flavor.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 12:57PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Using dark brown sugar as opposed to white can help darken, or even a bit of black strap molasses. I added so much cinnamon to mine that it got fairly dark on its own.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 2:22PM
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don't sound like enough cinnamon, 2teaspoons ...I would have added more...probaby 2 T.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 2:36PM
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gran2(z5 INDIANA)

The variety of apple has a great deal to do with it - also the cloves, but they're quite strong so only increase in small increments, tasting as you go. If you cook your apples with the skins on and use a red- or dark-skinned apple as opposed to, say, transparents, this will darken your sauce.

Best advice? Close your eyes when you eat.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 2:43PM
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Blue Ridge Mountain Girl: Great part of the country you live in. I was born in Bedford County VA.

Apple Butter. If it tastes good stop there.
There is nothing wrong with a light colored apple butter, in fact it would be unusual and interesting.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 4:09PM
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