One way I've done that in the past, is to simmer over low heat a cinnamon stick and apple peels with enough water to fill half the pan. Anytime the water is low, just refill and keep on simmering. This helps to bring humidity into your home as well as a fragrant Christmas scent. Of course, this should only be done while you're in the kitchen, or somewhere near by so you can keep an eye on the water level (you don't want a fire!).
Later on I discovered an even better way to bring this spiciness into my home. I discovered apple butter. With apple butter you still have that amazing Christmas scent, but you also have a useable and delicious result!
This is a great way to use soft fruit that isn't good for fresh snacking, but is great for alternate uses. I think this is one way to economize your budget, by not throwing out past-its-prime fruit, but using it for something else that is quite delicious. See other budget friendly ideas.
For this recipe I included pears because I had a couple on hand that hadn't been eaten, and I think they meld wonderfully into this recipe. If you're not a pear fan or don't have them on hand, using 100% apples has always been amazing too. Just add in one or two more than the recipe calls for.
Apple Pear ButterThis recipe is super easy and really quick to pull together. It is also gluten free!
Active Time: 10 min Inactive: 8+ hrs
Vegetarian | Gluten-Free
5 small apples, cored and quartered
2 pears, cored and halved
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 - 3 whole star anise
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar, I use Bragg's Organic Unfiltered
1/4 cup filtered water
Combine all ingredients into slow cooker/ crock pot. Cover with lid and cook over low heat for 8 to 10 hours. (For spiced applesauce, do the same except only cook for 4 - 5 hours. Apple butter is cooked longer and has a caramelized result as opposed to applesauce.)
Once mixture has caramelized, remove cinnamon stick, and star anise. With immersion blender, slowly blend mixture to a smooth consistency. Pour into mason jars and tightly seal. Store in fridge.
We serve apple butter with homemade bread. Our Recipes: Sourdough | Challah