For old-fashioned apple butter, gather 12 pounds of apples, 6 cups of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of cloves and 1 gallon of quality apple cider. Cook the final mixture on the stove top for several hours or in a slow cooker for approximately 24 hours.
First, wash, core and slice all of the apples, then transfer the slices to a large pot. Cover the apples with a little bit of the apple cider, and cook them until they begin to soften. In batches, process all of the softened apples through a food mill, and return them to the original pot. Add the remainder of the apple cider, and bring the entire mixture to a boil.
As the liquid and apples achieve boil, add the sugar, cloves and cinnamon. Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally as it cooks. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat, and allow everything to simmer for several hours, again, stirring occasionally. The mixture is finished when the hue has developed into a dark brown, and when the consistency of the mixture itself remains thick and heaps in the spoon. Use the slow cooker for an even easier process, or if you are required to leave the preparation for extended periods of time. After cooking, transfer contents to freezer-safe containers, and allow it to harden into butter before serving.