Appalachian Thursday–Apple Butter

Mom and my older brother making apple butter in 1971. Technically, I’m in this photo, ’cause Mom is six months or so pregnant with ME!

More than a decade ago my husband and I had breakfast in Oxford, MS, as part of a foodways conference. On the table that morning was a jar of apple butter. As soon as we tasted it, we agreed it was the BEST we’d ever eaten. For me, it hearkened back to the apple butter we used to make in Aunt Bess’ huge copper kettle.

The secret? Oil of cinnamon. None of this ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick nonsense–it was pure oil of cinnamon giving the condiment it’s depth.

I put that jar in my purse and once home, read the label carefully. Turned out it had been made in Snowflake, Va. So, next time I drove from NC to WV, I swung by Snowflake which was only a little out of the way.

You’ve heard jokes about small towns. Well, the highway sign for Snowflake is actually printed on both sides. And the only thing there, is the Snowflake General Mercantile. I’m pretty sure it’s closed now, but when I pulled up, they were having some sort of pre-Christmas celebration complete with Dickens carolers.

Inside, it really was a general store with a little bit of everything including a lunch counter and . . . apple butter. They made it from Rome apples growing out back. I bought a case.

When that ran out, I called them up and ordered another case. It was the first and probably only order they ever shipped out. Not long after that, the old folks got old, the young folks moved on, and they stopped making apple butter.

It was a sad day when the last jar in our pantry was empty.

Published by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author, wife, child of God.

7 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday–Apple Butter

  1. Then my order must have been the second (and last) that they shipped. The one time we got to stop there, Jean got a pair of the best shoes (Clarks) and wore them till they “gave up the ghost.” I was tempted to make a comment about being “barefoot and pregnant”….. but I won’t. 😉

  2. I was introduced to “kettle-made” apple butter by my mom-in-law who also use the oil of cinnamon. My niece would have a red ring when she ate some that had extra made just for her. My daughters have helped with the stirring. But mine is now made on the stove. I do have a neighbor who just made a kettle full .

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