Friday, October 26, 2012

Bushel of apples

There is a local farm stand that is open until Halloween.  Being Upstate NY, they always have large amounts of local apples.  In preparation for my housesitting for them, my parents picked up a bushel of apples for me to process.  My motto tends to be "work smarter, not harder".  Here was my setup: Bin #1: apple scrapes & cores for cider, Bin #2: lemon water for apple rings to dehydrate, Bin #3: mangled apples for sauce, Bin #4: nice apple slices for pie filling.

Dried Apple Ring
I cheat and use a dehydrator
This is really easy and mostly up to personal preference.
Prep apples by peeling, coring and slicing (*save all the scrap for cider).
To make dried apples in the oven:
Lay rings out on cookie sheets, season if you like with cinnamon and nutmeg
Turn oven to lowest temperature

Leave apples in oven 8-10 hours or overnight
Seal in air tight container

6 cups of prepped apples, peeled & cut. (*save scraps for cider)
3 tbs lemon juice
1/4c white sugar
1/4c brown sugar
1c water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove

Put all ingredients into pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  mash or blend depending on how smooth you like your applesauce.

Apple Pie Filling
Instead of making pie now,
I put it into a ziplock to freeze until needed
4 cups of prepped apples, peeled and sliced (*save scraps for cider)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
pinch of salt
2 tbs butter

Mix all ingredients, except butter, together in a large bowl.  Pour into pie shell.  Add butter in dollops on top of filling.  Bake at 425* for 40 to 50 minutes.

Apple Cider 
apple scraps boiling
Apple scraps (from 2/3 of bushel)
water (1.5 gallon or 25 cups)
cinnamon sticks (3)
whole clove (palm full)
nutmeg (1/2 tsp)
brown sugar (1/2 cup)
white sugar (1cup) (I used splenda to make it lower in sugar)

Put apple scraps in a large pot.  Fill with enough water to cover scraps.  (Measure as you go.  My rations are based on 25 cups (about 1.5 gallon) of water.)  Place all ingredients in pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 3 hours.  Cool down and strain.  Will keep in fridge for about 2 weeks.

Canning Made Simple
Canning jars with lids and rings
large pot
small pot
hand towels (at least 3)
  • Place hand towel on the bottom of large pot, put empty cans/jars into pot and fill with enough hot water to cover and fill jars.  The towel should be large enough to prevent the glass jars from touching hot metal of the pot.  
  • Boil for 20 minutes to sanitize.  
  • While the jars are sanitizing, put lids into small pot of water, bring to a boil.  Turn off burner and leave lids in water until ready to use.
  • After the jars have been sanitized, they are ready to fill (see above for applesauce, apple pie filling, or apple cider).  Fill almost all the way, leaving at least an inch of head space.  Clean the threads and top of jar.
  • One by one, remove lid from hot water, dry, put on filled jar then screw ring on just short of tight.
  • Put jars back in large pot, add water if needed to cover jars with at least 2 inches of water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove, tighten rings, place on towel away from drafts for 24 hours.  My favorite part is listening to the telltale pops of the jars sealing!
I highly suggest picking up a canning kit.  You can get them at "major retailers" for about $20.  They include specialized tongs to lift jars, a funnel specialized for jars.  These things came with my mom's large canning pot kit (they run about $60) and I have found them indispensable.  As for the canning pot itself, you can do just as well with a large pot from your own kitchen.

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