Lilly's Autumn Spiced Apple Butter

Spread a little autumnal cheer with Lilly Higgins' delectable spiced apple butter...

I'm lucky enough to have access to plenty of homegrown Irish apples this time of year and always make the most of it. Irish apples can be bought cheaply by the bagful at farmers? markets. Every year, I make huge batches of apple butter: a thick apple paste spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with a little sugar. Spread it over pancakes or serve with scones in place of jam. It's also amazing stirred into hot cider for the perfectly spiced autumnal tipple.

Spiced apple butter
Makes 4-6 jam jars

* 1.8 kg apples, quartered, but not peeled or cored ??Granny Smith or Fuji are good choices
* 250ml apple cider vinegar
*?250ml apple juice
* 250ml water
* 800g sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of the apples you use)
* 2 tsp cinnamon
* 1 tsp allspice
* 1/2 tsp ground cloves
*?zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Irish apples for Lilly Higgins'  autumn spiced apple butter Irish apples for Lilly Higgins' autumn spiced apple butter

1 Place the quartered apples in a large pot with the water, vinegar, and apple juice. ?Bring to?the?boil and reduce to a simmer?for 20 minutes or until the apples are soft.
2 Using a food mill or sieve, work the apple mixture through the mill and into a large bowl.?Add sugar, spices, and lemon.
3 Cook, uncovered, in a wide, shallow pan, stirring occasionally to make sure none of?the mixture sticks to the bottom. Cook this way for 1-2 hours, until the mixture has?thickened.
4 You can then place the apple butter into sterilised jars, freeze, or use immediately. Store opened jars in the?fridge.

Pick up the brand-new September-October issue of Image Interiors & Living, on shelves now, to read the rest of Lilly's autumnal recommendations for fresh-food lovers.

The image newsletter