Wednesday, October 28, 2009

new respect for preserving

I have been so intimidated by the thought of canning. That and quilting are two things that seem just a bit out of reach. Determined to begin conquering my fear of canning, I checked out two books about canning and read as much as a could online. In the end, I went with the method and not so much a recipe from any of those sources. It was more work than I thought, but not in itself difficult. Next year, I'm doing vegetables from my garden, which does not exist yet.

I did 2 batches. Here is 1/4 bushel from the orchard. It's 10 pounds. I bought 1/2 bushel (20 pounds) for $12.00 there, not sure what that would be in the grocery. It's fun to pick apples and I like shopping from the farmer. Keeping it local you know. I went with a mix of gala, jonathan, and rome beauty- no real rhyme or reason.

All the apples were washed, peeled, cored and chunked. I cooked them on the stove in my large stock pot for about 30+ minutes and then used the immersion blender to make them into apple sauce. We ended up canning a jar of applesauce, but not in this batch.

Then, all the applesauce was transferred to the ol crock pot. The kids added a few shakes of nutmeg and a cinnamon. This cooked ALL day long, really it was like 10 hours. It needed stirred at least once an hour, more often the longer it cooked. The most important thing is to leave the lid propped open with a spoon to let the steam leave.

After 10 hours, I used the immersion blender again. There was a lot of taste testing too.

Here's where I did some learn as you go stuff. I boiled the jars and lids to sterilize them. Then I filled the jars and wiped the tops of the jars really well. Next, the lids went on and I loosely added the rings. This was all really hot and done pretty quickly.

Back into the boiling water they went. All those apples and I only ended up with 2 full jars! I know you are supposed to have a special larger pot, but I used my regular large stock pot. They need 1-2 inches of water taller than the jars. I boiled them 15 minutes. There was water all over the stove as the boiling went crazy and my oven burners aren't level.

Out they came and onto a towel to cool.

I realized that these big jars were taking up too much of my now precious apple butter. There was too much apple peeling to only get 2 big jars. I went back to the store and found some smaller ones. So, the first batch got 2 large jars, the second batch gave us 1 jar of applesauce and 4 smaller jars of apple butter.

This day of apple butter making did keep us close to home for the day, but luckily there were leaves to be raked and jumped in. They were the first of the year for us and only the second time the kids the jumped in leaves.

I love the expression on Bee's face here, but also on Lou who is running to the pile.


Anonymous said...

The Rome apples are great for baking. They were daddy's favorite for eating also. Last week end I bought Jonathan, and by mistake Cortland when I meant to get Macintosh which are so good for applesauce and my sis brought an unknown kind from a neighbor's tree. We made apple dumplings, a cobbler, and apple sauce which I froze. gma

Anonymous said...

Oh, the joy of tossing leaves into the air. It doesn't get much better than that.

Love Always,


Kelly Nieman Anderson said...

we've made some delicious applesauce, but haven't tried apple butter. Yours looks delicious!

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