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Marisa McClellan's apple-date butter, ready to be processed

Apple-Date Butter

  • Author: alexandra
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups


From Marisa McClellan’s Naturally Sweet Food in Jars

If you’d like more details on sterilizing jars and preparing a water bath for canning, view this post on Food in Jars.


  • 3 lbs. (1.4 kg) apples
  • 12 ounces (340 g) Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • nice flaky sea salt


  1. Cut the apples, cores and all, into chunks, and heap them into a large, nonreactive pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the dates and water.
  2. Place over high heat, cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and simmer until the apples are tender enough to crush with the back of a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes. While the fruit cooks, preheat the oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
  3. Fit a food mill with its finest screen, position it over a large bowl, and mill the apple mash, along with all the liquid. You’re done when all that’s left in the mill is a pile of seeds and skins.
  4. Stir the lemon juice, vinegar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the apple mash, scrape it into a shallow baking dish, and place in the oven. Roast the apple mash for 1.5-2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes (or not… I don’t stir). It’s done when you no longer see liquid separating from the fruit.
  5. If you wish to can the apple butter, while it bakes, prepare a boiling water bath, and sterilize three half-pint jars.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven. Scrape the butter into a food processor and purée until smooth. Taste. Add a sprinkling of sea salt if you wish. Purée again. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary with more salt or lemon to taste.
  7. Spoon the hot butter into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch (12 mm) of headspace. Use a wooden chopstick to dislodge any trapped air bubbles. Add more butter to return the headspace to 1/2 inch (12 mm), if necessary. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Stovetop/Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: apples, butter, fruit butter, dates