Thursday, September 27, 2012

Canning Apples

Sense of Home Kitchen

We picked apples at my in-laws this past weekend, there were more than they thought there would be so we were able to bring several boxes home.  I canned apples in a simple syrup to be used in pies, crisps, breads, muffins, or even to be eaten right out of the jar.  When trying to decide how to preserve these apples I had a few things to consider.  Our fruit and vegetable freezer is jammed full of the summer's produce and our meat freezer will be full as soon as we pick up the beef that was taken in a week ago, the apples would not fit into either freezer.  These apples do not keep well, even in a cold storage room, we have tried in years past.  I had already made enough apple juice to supply our needs, so I had only two methods in which I could preserve these apples through the winter, can or dehydrate, I did both.  I used the last 14 quarts I had available to can these apples and then I began dehydrating. The remainder will be made into applesauce and canned in the last of the pint jars.  I also shared a couple of boxes with family and friends.

This has been a productive canning season.  I had received several boxes of old quart and pint jars from a friend and am so glad I did, I have used every one of them.  Our pantry is full, I will share a photo later.  I love that much of our food is from our garden or other gardens and trees in our area, free, or at a very low cost of seeds or plants.  My time and effort are worth something, but this has been a worthwhile way to spend it, the benefits will be noticed in both the budget and convenience of not having to go to the store.  I have also been making my own dish washing soap and laundry soap, but that is a post for another day.

My mom's apple peeler and slicer came in very handy, saving a lot of time and preventing a sore hand.  The apple slices were placed in lemon water immediately to prevent them from discoloring.

A brief time in some boiling light syrup and right into the sterilized jars, packed down and syrup poured over the top. Lids and screw bands placed on top and into a water-bath for 20 minutes (sea level).  I use the instructions found in the book Putting Food By when canning.  There is also a fifth edition, out in 2010, available.    After 12 to 24 hours of resting on the counter I check to make sure they have sealed, take the screw bands off, wipe down the jars, label them, and place them on the pantry shelf without the screw band.  I personally prefer to store them without the screw band as it can hold moisture, causing it to rust.  If you take care of your canning equipment, including screw bands, they will last and can be reused for years to come.