5 pounds (about 15) tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn
2 cups apple cider, apple juice or water
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon peel, removed with vegetable peeler
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ginger
Wash and quarter apples. Place apples—stems, seeds and all—in an 8-quart pot; add cider. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until apples are very tender. Put apples through a food mill or through a sieve placed over a large bowl, pressing on solids with a spoon. Discard solids and return puree to pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and partially cover with lid. Simmer about 2 hours, stirring 2 or 3 times, until thickened. (To test for doneness, spoon some apple butter on a small plate. If liquid separates around the edge of apple butter, continue cooking.) Cool slightly, then ladle into two clean pint jars. Cool completely. Cover with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate up to 3 months. Makes 2 pints.