Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Slow Cooker Apple Butter | Family Guide to Visiting Marietta, Ohio

Slow Cooker Apple Butter | Family Guide to Visiting Marietta, Ohio

Local apples taste best in this slow cooker apple butter recipe. Use your kitchen appliances to do the work for you! This recipe can be canned for shelf stability & food gifts.

image of sourdough bread spread with slow cooker apple butter

Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

Disclosure: I spent 3 days in Marietta, Ohio on an agritourism press trip. I was put up, fed, and shown the sights courtesy of the Marietta CVB. In exchange, I have written this post--and two others, since I'm so charmed by this town and I think ya'll should visit.

One aspect of traveling that I enjoy is the opportunity to learn something new--both about myself and the places I visit. This doesn't apply just to adults--kids can grow and thrive in new environments as well. On my recent Agritourism Adventure in Marietta, Ohio we visited many places that will delight the whole family, and I'll share them today in my Family Guide to Marietta, Ohio. If you'd like to visit Marietta with a group of girlfriends, please check out my Girlfriends' Guide to Marietta, Ohio. If you'd like to steal away for a couples weekend, stay tuned for my Couple's Guide to Marietta.

Marietta, Ohio is an interesting town with an emphasis on local entrepreneurs in a variety of  businesses.

Where should a family stay in Marietta, Ohio? To answer that question I reached out to Shannon at the Marietta CVB. She suggested the following hotels that would provide kids with swimming and other opportunities to blow off steam--do you have points you can use at Quality Inn, Best Western Plus, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Comfort Suites, or our family's favorite, Holiday Inn Express?

The Busy Bee Restaurant uses locally sourced products for breakfast & lunch.

Where should a family eat in Marietta, Ohio? In addition to the wholesome and locally sourced breakfasts at Busy Bee Restaurant--where parents can get a cup of young entrepreneur Ashton's Broaster's Coffee--Shannon suggests lunch at the Third Street Deli and dinner at The Original Pizza Place.

Enjoy a variety of fun family activities at Sweetapple farm like a corn maze, a wagon ride, and a scent garden. Then take home apples to make slow cooker apple butter.

What should a family do in Marietta, Ohio? During the Fall, I'd suggest a visit to Sweetapple Farm. The kids will have fun riding a wagon out to visit cows, building a scarecrow, or navigating the corn maze. They'll learn something, too. During the week, Sweetapple Farm is popular with school groups and senior groups--yep, that wagon ride is accessible. Mona Barrett, the owner, weaves agricultural education into the entertainment activities throughout the property.

Marietta has plenty of family friendly festivals. Shannon recommends the Sweet Corn Festival, the Marietta Riverfront Roar, the River Trails and Ales Festival, and the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival as particularly good for families. You can find more information about the festivals in Marietta, Ohio here.

Hidden Hills Orchard in Marietta, Ohio is an excellent place to source apples for slow cooker apple butter.

I always like to put my kids to work, so a stop at Hidden Hills Orchard fits nicely with a family visit to Marietta, Ohio. Owners Tom and Cathy manage this farm with an eye to the future--from integrated pest management (Tom's showing the pheromone sticks to trick bugs instead of using sprays in the above photo) to a wildflower meadow (to attract pollinators). Your family is sure to enjoy the visit as much as the fruit!

Local apples taste best in this slow cooker apple butter recipe. Use your kitchen appliances to do the work for you! This recipe can be canned for shelf stability & food gifts.

I am a sucker for bringing food home from my travels. No matter how far I travel, I'll be bringing something back. Often it's honey or jam (the jars of Montana huckleberry preserves and Michigan cherry jam are testament to that) but if circumstances permit, it's more perishable goods like cheese and applewood smoked bacon from Nueske's in Wisconsin. My trip to Marietta was no different! I bought a bag of Hidden Hills apples while visiting Sweetapple Farm. What I failed to take into account was the continuing presence of apples from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share. We get an apple share add on, which means throughout the Fall I'm bringing home a bag of locally grown apples along with all the fresh vegetables. Usually my family snacks on apples and the crisper inventory is easily managed, but sometimes there's a backlog. I made this Slow Cooker Apple Butter to use up an abundance of apples and make some room in the fridge.
The inspiration for this recipe came from Marisa's Spiced Apple Butter recipe and several apple butter recipes at

Notes: do use a mix of apple varieties. Diversity is a Good Thing in most situations, and apple butter is no exception. Your result will have a more complex and nuanced flavor if you choose multiple types of apples. I used Empire, RubyJon, Golden Delicious, and McIntosh this time.
Don't let the long cooking time scare you off! It's mostly hands off. I started by cooking the apples overnight--coring and filling the slow cooker with chopped apples after I'd cleaned up from dinner. In the morning, I added still more apples since there was room. After they'd softened, I cooled and blended the mixture. Eight straight hours of cooking, and I was asleep for most of it.
After that, it was a matter of personal preference and taste. I cooked down the apple butter in snatches. After I'd get home from work I'd pull out the bowl of apple puree, plop it into the slow cooker, set the timer for 2 hours, then go about my evening. When the timer beeped, I stirred the mixture and reset the timer for another 2 hours until bedtime when I tucked the puree back into the fridge. I repeated this until I was happy with the consistency of the apple butter. When I had a block of time, I spiced and canned the apple butter.

I'm a visual learner. Please watch this video of the cooking/canning process for more information!


Local apples taste best in this slow cooker apple butter recipe. Use your kitchen appliances to do the work for you! This recipe can be canned for shelf stability & food gifts.

For more recipes using apples, please see my Apple Recipes Collection (appetizers, entrees, breakfast thru dessert there's a wide selection). It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

1 comment:

  1. The river rails and ales tour is particularly appealing to me although I suspect Ave would prefer the corn festival. :)