Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where did all these apples come from?

Do you ever do this? You go to the store and think hmmm, those look good and we don't have any of those I think I will get some. Then you go to the store again and think to yourself, hmmm, these are on sale and we haven't had any in a while, I think I shall surprise my family with a few. Then again, you head to the market and say to yourself, wow, what a deal, those are some nice looking whatjamajiggies, I must grab as many as I can stuff in a bag and bring them home to my loved ones so they will know that I truly heart them. Well in my case and in this instance it was apples. How I ended up with two refrigerators a total of 4 produce drawers full of apples is a mystery but wait! There were more! I found a bag of apples still sitting by the front door where one of the offspring sat it after bringing it in from the car. Crazy right? Not as crazy as finding ANOTHER bag of apples hiding in plain sight on the kitchen counter. I don't even know how many pounds of apples I found. How many pounds of apples do you think you could fit in fright car? I think that's about how many I had. There were fujis, braeburns, gala, cameo, golden delicious, red delicious, granny smiths and some jonagolds. Some were firm, some were not. Some were pretty, some were not. The only thing that all the apples had in common is that none of them were getting any fresher! I hate to waste anything so I had to get busy and fast.

First things first.  Gather all the apples and give them a good bath.  I used basic H and vinegar to wash them before doing anything else.  Next I got out my handy dandy peeler/slicer/corer and used it to peel all these bad boys.  I prefer to core my apples by hand because the gadget doesn't always get all the core and I hate little scratch bits of core in my appley treats.

If the apple is too soft or mealy it doesn't not peel well with the gadget so those went into a separate bowl.  Mealy apples, as long as they aren't rotten dehydrate just fine.  Firm apples went on to be cored, sliced and put in a large stock pot with some mulling spices, apple juice and agave.  The apples destined for the Excalibur were cored and sliced and dipped in water with lemon juice in it.  One the tray and into the dehydrators they went.  I can hear them drying as I type.

I used 1/2 gallon of unsweetened apple juice and 1 cup of agave.  I didn't want the apples super sweet.  I wasn't going to use any sweetener but I had lots of granny smiths and they were super tart.  My plan for these apples was just to have some canned apples that I could later use for cobblers, pork chops, as a topping for oat meal or a glaze for chicken or ham.  I could always add sweetener and thickeners when I used them.

I was going to put the apples in pint jars raw and pour boiling juice over them but my canning books all said to boil the apples for 5 minutes first.  This really broke the apples down.  Out of all that fruit I only got about 7 or 8 pints.  Correction, I got 12 pints of apples and 5 half pints of pears.  Not too bad after all! I also filled two dehydrators with apples.  I can't say if it was worth all the work or not. After a good nights sleep I think it was worth the work.  I haven't tried the canned apples yet and no one is opening any jars until my feet have stopped hurting from a day of standing over the sink cutting up apples.

My next canning adventure:
Canning turkey broth

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