apple picking and processing

October 12, 2009

applesintree

Heli and I went to an apple orchard yesterday, and picked a lot of apples! Somehow I always end up with more than expected. When we got home we excitedly discussed our options. We both had already made apple butter, but didn’t have any apple sauce, so decided on that. And to spice things up a little we also made some caramel apple jam, with several variations.

rowoftrees

When we went to the local plant and garden store this morning (Downtown Home and Garden, which is awesome!), we decided to try some new jars. Usually we use Mason or Bormioli jars, but we fell in love with Weck jars. They have a different sealing system, and glass lids! They are a bit more expensive, but I keep telling myself that I will reuse them for the next 40 years or so, so this is a one-time investment…I will probably always buy new cute jars with this rationale!

When we arrived home, with 5 trays of empty jars, to attack our two mountains of apples we were excited! And now, after canning ALL day, we are rather tired, but all the jars along the windowsills create a nice homey feeling.

cutapples

Our first project was caramel apple jam with brandy and vanilla. We had to stop at the liquor store to purchase some brandy, and the grocery store for some cinnamon. The apple jam uses apple sauce, which we made with quartered and cored apples (we kept the peels to add flavor and color). We added a little water to the bottom of the pan so the apples wouldn’t stick, and boiled them until soft, and then put them through a food mill.

applesinmillThe fun part of this recipe was making the caramel! You don’t stir the mixture of water and sugar as it cooks, and this creates a crunchy, sticky gooey sugar mess that smells wonderful. When we added the apples, everything sizzled and puffed up, and then turned into little pieces of hard sugar mess.

caramelsugar

After stirring the apples and sugar for a while we put the mixture into our new jars and sent them off to a hot water bath. Heli’s stove is about the size of a matchbox, so the logistics were a little tricky. We had to juggle all the pots of boiling liquid from burner to burner, but somehow we made it without any massive burns!

caramelapplejam

The new jars filled with caramel apple jam! Some with brandy and vanilla, some with vanilla, some with only sugar. And some a mixture of everything all together!

applejamlids

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