Homemade apple butter is made by first preheating an oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and peeling and chopping 4 pounds of assorted apples. Place the apples along with 2 cups of apple cider, 1 cup of packed brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large oven-safe pot.
Bring the pot to a simmer on the stove over medium heat. Partially cover and cook about 20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Next, remove the pot from the heat, and add in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of vanilla extract and ground cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves. Use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth, then return it to the pot and bake uncovered 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. It is ready when it becomes thickened and deep amber in color.
Apple butter may also be made in a slow cooker. Peel, core and slice 6 1/2 pounds of assorted apples, and place them in a slow cooker. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup each of granulated and light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add to the slow cooker with the apples, stir to combine, and cook on low for 10 hours.
After 10 hours, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, stir to break up the apples and cook for two more hours. When finished cooking, puree with a blender, spoon into jars and store refrigerated for up to two weeks.