Canning Apples - my favourite way
For years we have waited for our apple tree to produce a good harvest. Every year, Mother Nature hits us with a frost that kills all the blossoms and, thus, no apples.
But this year — 2016 — everything was in alignment and, oh, what a crop we got!!!
So starting Aug 7th, it was canning season at Grandmum’s house.
Throughout the week, I tried several methods, canning some apple sauce, apple juice, apples in syrup and apple jam. (And we can’t forget the apple cider vinegar that is still in the making.)
With lots of back-breaking steps (ok, so I was sitting down, in a comfy chair, on the deck — but it was tiring and "oh my back", by the end of it all), I used a different method for each of the processes and, at the end of it all, I wanted to put together the simplest method that I could use for our next bumper crop.
Step1: pick the apples. (Now I did just one batch per day so it was probably just over half a bushel at a time. Don’t over-pick. You want fresh.)
Step 1-2 a: I prefer working outside but along with this comes flies. So - having some Young Living’s Purification Essential Oils handy really helps with this issue!!!
Step 2: because we are going to use the skins for our cider vinegar, we need to wash them. I have two options to assist with this: Young Living’s Veggie Soak or you can just wash them as you normally would.
( If you are interested in the Young Living products, let me know and I will help you with your order.)
Step 3: peel and prepare the apple. Because the apples aren’t always huge, or even, peeling them with a paring knife is the easiest method. Peel them, slice off the bottom so they sit flat, and then use an apple slicer/corer to cut them up. If you want smaller pieces, then chop them up at this point.
I have a big bucket at my feet and let the peels and cores drop into it. These will be used later for the vinegar.
Put the sliced apple pieces into a large container containing water with a good squirt or two of lemon in it so that the apples don’t turn brown.
Step 4: Prepare the steamer/juicer. Put the apple slices in the top and the water in the bottom and get the water boiling. (You can put some marbles in the bottom - when you no longer hear them bouncing around in there, you need to add some water!!) You want a gentle boil during the steaming process.
As the juice first starts to collect, put it in a jug and pour it back in, over the apples. That first quart will be more water than juice.
Step 5: Now is when we get creative. If we want to use the apples for jam or apples in syrup, you probably won’t want them too soft. So, check on them, and remove them when they are soft enough (whatever your liking) and proceed with the jam-making or syrup-making process, in another pot.
You can then add more apples and keep the steaming going. Continue to check the water in the steamer and if the juice section is getting full, you need to fill some jars. (The apple juice gets a 10 minute water bath.)
Note: for apple juice, you want to let the process steam for about 2 hours, to get a rich flavour. And, because I like it a little thick, I stir the apples now and then, which pushes some of the apples’ meat into the juice.
After the couple of hours, the apples on top have turned into applesauce. Put them in jars and give them a 20 minute hot water bath and that is it! No sugar needed. You can put a splash of cinnamon and cloves into the apples, if you’d like and give them a good stir before canning.
Step 6: the vinegar. Put all the peels and cores into a large glass container (or ceramic crock) and follow the recipe for making vinegar.