Saturday, September 4, 2010

An apple a day

Or somewhere around 20 pounds.  Again, another deal from the scratch and dent produce cart.  4 bags at .99 a bag.  Pretty sweet deal!  So what to do with the gala, granny smith and red delicious finds?  Well, hang on to your seats, it's been a loooooong day.
(BTW, save your peels and cores for the last recipe in this post)

First up was Caramel Apple Jam

6 cups peeled, cored chopped apples, gala works good (I took a stick blender to them in the pot after they cooked a bit)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups white sugar
1 package powdered pectin

Heat the apples, water, lemon and cinnamon on medium heat about 20 minutes or until soft. Add pectin bring to a boil, add sugar and bring back to a boil for 1 minute.  Ladle into sterilized jars and water bath for 15 minutes on pints.

I made a few batches and ended up with 9 pints, 1 half pint

 Then I tried an 'Apple Pie in a Jar' recipe but I tweaked it a bit and call it Apple Pie Jam, it's already a HUGE hit just from what didn't make it into a jar.

Apple Pie Jam

1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries (or all 3) pulsed fine in processor
12 cups peeled, cored chopped apples (granny smith is best, though I did toss in the very few red delicous that I had)
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 pkg low sugar pectin
4.5 cups sugar

In large stockpot combine apples, lemon, apple juice and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and boil on low until the apples begin to soften, this is where I pull out the stick blender and chop them down a bit.  Stir in dry fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg and make sure to mix well.  Add pectin, bring to boil for 1 minute.  Add sugar, boil 3 minutes.  Ladle into jars, water bath for 10 minutes on half pints, 15 minutes on pints.
I made two batches, netting 10 pints and 3 half pints, plus enough saved out to taste test for another pint.

Now... why did I save the peels and cores?  Well to make apple juice from them of course.  Call it thrifty  Toss them in a stock pot, add a cup or so of water, slap a lid on it and bring to a boil.  Once everything is sufficiently mushy, pour into a jelly strainer and drain, or you can do like I do and drain through a large cotton napkin set in a colander over another pot.  If you don't get enough juice for the recipe, no problem, just add a little unsweeted store bought apple juice to even things out.  And what to do with the spent peels and cores?  Keep the basset out of them while you're working and give them to the chickens when they cool off!
Then you can make jelly, or more specifically....

Candy Apple Jelly

4 cups apple juice
1/2 cup red-hot candies
1 (1.75 oz) package powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar

Bring juice and red hots to full rolling boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly until most of the red hots have dissolved. Add pectin, boil 1 minute. Stir in sugar; return to full rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes, continue stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; skim off any foam and remove any undissolved candies. Pour into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps and process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath.

I made 2 batches and ended up with 11 half pints, plus another we tossed in the fridge for taste testing.

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