Recipes by Dan Kohler
For the Cranberry Apple Butter:
1. Combine apples, cranberries, vinegar, orange zest, and water in a large stockpot. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and cook until apples are completely softened and liquid has reduced by half. It should take 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reach this phase.
2. Pass the apples and liquid through a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, press the apples through a strainer with the back of a spoon, collecting the pulp and leaving behind the skins and seeds.
3. Return apple pulp to stockpot and stir in cinnamon sticks, honey, and brown sugar until dissolved. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture is thickened and dark. It will take 2 ½ - 3 hours to reach this phase. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom.
4. Test thickness of apple butter by spreading a bit onto a plate. It should set almost immediately, apples are full of naturally occurring pectin.
5. When desired consistency is reached, season with salt (and not a moment before, since you’re reducing for hours it will become too salty if seasoned at the beginning). Remove cinnamon sticks before serving or packaging to keep in the fridge.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into jars or containers, store in fridge or freezer.
Directions for Pumpkin Butter:
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low heat (otherwise the pumpkin butter will sputter).
3. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the pumpkin has become caramelized and dark brown, with a thick and shiny consistency. As long as you stir every couple minutes and use a heavy-bottomed pan, it shouldn’t burn. Puree with immersion blender.
4. Pumpkin butter can be stored in the fridge for at least two weeks.
NOTE: If using fresh pumpkin puree, you may not need as much water, since canned pumpkin puree is often much thicker. For fresh pumpkin puree, start with 1/4 cup, and add more water if it's too thick.