BRUCETON MILLS, W.Va. — A family that makes homemade apple butter, “Sweet Traditions Homemade Apple Butter,” makes the treat once a year. On Sept. 16, Bruceton Elementary School helped in making the annual apple butter.

Grades Pre-K through Eighth learned the history and heritage behind apple butter, as well as the volume of the apple butter and how to measure out ingredients. All students took turns stirring the mixture, and even got to try samples.

The family members made it to the school around 5 a.m. to get the fire started. The apple butter needs to be stirred consistently for the entire ten to twelve hours, so it was nice that the kids got to learn, have fun, and join in on the traditional making experience.

When the family reached out the the principal and asked if the kids would be interested in helping, and being shown demonstrations. Jonas Knotts, principal of the school, accepted the offer graciously to have a fun day for the kids, as well, as letting them learn more than just how to make apple butter. He said, “it’s good for them to get experiences, like this. It’s good for them to take what they’re learning and take it out of the classroom, out of the textbook, and to experience it, um, live in-person. They’re learning more than just about apple butter, they’re learning about volume, they’re learning about measuring ingredients, they’re learning about some of them chemistry of why you’re using copper pet-or copper kettles.”

Jason Jenkins and his family have been continuing on his grandmother’s apple butter making tradition that was started at least sixty years ago. Their grandmother passed away in 2019, so the family apple butter making tradition was passed down to them, because they have been helping make it since they were younger.

In a traditional sense, apple butter is made by taking apples from trees and peeling them, making them into applesauce and then cooking them in a copper kettle over a fire between ten to twelve hours. At the end, they look at it through the water content and some of the few family recipe process secrets. They will then add in spices and sugar, which leads to being transported into pint sized jars.

They originally made the apple butter to support a travel baseball team that Jenkins’ son was on, in which he no longer needs the funding. Bruceton’s school takes an eighth grade trip every year to the Petersburg and Seneca Rocks area, so they came up with the idea of raising the money for them, and turning it into a learning experience.

Jenkins was very excited to share his family tradition with the school, he said, “the best thing is watching the kid’s faces as they take hold of the paddle and they’re stirring.. And the smiles, because they are being apart of something that they’ve never done and it’s just neat watching the kids be part of it and getting to help.”

Knotts is thankful for Jason Jenkins and his crew for coming out and sharing the experience with the school, and he hopes that it will be something they can continue each year.

When asked in an interview with 12 News if there was anything that Jenkins would like to let everyone know, he said, “just keeping traditions alive, take the time to do it. You know, we get so busy in our lives, we have a lot of donated time with friends, family, and those who love the school, so take time to do that.”

Out of the two kettles that they have made, they started out with about fifty gallons of applesauce, in which they will get around 200 to 230 pints.

“Sweet Traditions Homemade Apple Butter” only makes apple butter once a year, in which the 200 pints that were made on September 16 were sold out within’ two hours and they were not even finished being made yet.

However, if you are still interested in purchasing apple butter, the 47th annual Apple Butter Festival will be held in Berkeley Springs between Oct. 8 and 9.