Apple Butter Making By Grandma Moses

Apple Butter Making is a famous painting by artist Grandma Moses, whose real name was Anna Mary Robertson. It was first started in 1944 and completed in 1947. It is part of a larger collection of paintings that showcase many of Moses’ memories from her time spent living in Virginia. The house portrayed in the painting is the Dudley Place, one of several farms the Moses family lived on during their years down South.

In her autobiography, Grandma Moses revealed that late summer was the best time for making apple butter and it was considered a necessity during those years. Moses’ memories are showcased in great detail in her paintings and many of her quotes read like a recipe of the time period. 

To describe the painting she said, “To make apple butter, you take two barrels of sweet cider {you grind apples and make sweet cider first), then you put them on in a big brass kettle over afire out in the orchard and start it to boiling. You want three barrels of quartered apples, or snits, as they called them, with cores taken out, and then you commence to feed those in, and stirring and keeping that stirrer going. . . . Womenfolks would keep that going, feeding in all the apples until evening. Then the young folks would come in to start stirring. They’d have two—a boy and a girl—to take hold of the handle. They’d have a regular frolic all night out in the orchard.”



Today in History
Scroll to Top