Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apple Canning Recap - with Pictures!

I'm finally getting the last of my apples put up. Thank goodness apples keep so well! I must say, I'm very pleased with the yield I've gotten from only 1.5 bushels. Soon after finishing the apple butter, my lovely local apple source had a bushel of less-than-perfect apples for only $14! These apples were just old enough to not enjoy fresh, but they were perfect for canning. I used half the bushel for sliced apples in light syrup and the other half for applesauce.

Then, I discovered a recipe for apple peel jelly, made from all those peels and cores. You know I made it. I hate throwing something away if it has potential value, no matter how many jars of jelly are currently chillin' in my basement. I have to say, I was surprised how much apple flavor was in those peels. It was a delicious, complex, almost floral kind of fruity flavor. Certainly worth making for an everyday jelly. I still have about 3 cups of apple peel juice left, and I'm thinking of making it into a cordial. Or I'll just drink it.

And so, in the interest of remembering all of this a year from now, here's the breakdown of my apple canning extravaganza!

Apple Butter
Used: 1/2 bushel plus some. Maybe closer to 3/4 bushel.
Yield: 21 half-pints
Left skins on, added cinnamon, cloves ginger, allspice, SMALL amount of cardamom.
NOTES: Very good, very easy.  Will see how well I use it up, but will likely make again.

Apples in Extra Light Syrup
Used: 1/2 bushel, less maybe 3-4lbs
Yield: 11 pints
Apples were overripe and cooked up a bit too mushy for pies.
Used extra-light syrup and followed Ball Book instructions. Good level of sweet.
1 batch of syrup filled all jars, added cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and a bit of vanilla extract.
Lots of siphoning. Perhaps too little head space or poorly packed. Lost majority of syrup.

All but one sealed properly.
Preferred heating slices in syrup just until they started to shrink but not cooked through.
 (Notice top row in picture. Left three were par-cooked, right two were fully cooked.)
NOTES: We'll see how I use the jars, but this was a pain to make for such mediocre results. May not make again.

Used: 1/2 bushel (slightly less. some went bad)
Yield: 4 quarts
Added 1c brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger
Also 4 small Meyer lemons
Left texture quite chunky.
All sealed.
NOTES: Delicious, will make again! Almost too tart for me, but Hubby loves it. Ran out of brown sugar or I might have added more. I certainly see this getting used regularly. It's delicious hot; good enough for dessert! Only problem is, to last a year I would have to make at least 12 quarts, preferably twice as much.

Jelly isn't nearly this orange. More a rosy peach/pink.

Apple Peel Jelly
Used: 1 bushel (ish) peels and cores
Water Used: 7 + 10 = 17 (made in two batches)
Juice Yield: 15 cups
Added very modest amounts cinnamon, cloves ginger, allspice while simmering peel.
Squeezed as much liquid out of peels as possible. Juice is cloudy but I don't care.
Used low sugar SureJell. 6c juice to 3c sugar. Not sure it's going to fully set up. Time will tell.
Update: It seems to be jelling just barely enough. Next year I'm trying Pomona's.
Very sweet. Almost overpowers delicate apple flavor.
All sealed!
12c juice yielded 12 half-pints. I must have boiled it down too much. It took forever to boil.
NOTES: While this isn't a smack-yo-mama jelly like my blueberry jam, it's still very good. Would certainly make a good everyday jelly, if I can ever wean AC off his strawberry bias. Color of peels determined color of juice.

This brings my total jar count to:
  • 21 jars apple butter
  • 11 pints apples slices
  • 4 quarts applesauce
  • 12 jars apple jelly

Phew! I think that's enough apple for one year! Just a few more projects on my list, and I think I can finally put down my ladle until next spring. I look forward to recapping everything I've made and making a plan for next year. Someone has offered to let me borrow their pressure canner, so my plans already include a few garden rows of beets and green beans. Finally, I'll be able to put up something that isn't sweet or pickled! Sad how excited I am about that.