Sunday, October 2, 2011

Canned Apple Pie Filling AND I can't stand to be defeated in the kitchen!

I have been pondering canning for a while now and have wanted to do it but the need for jars, lids, ingredients, etc. has held me back. We have several great apple trees on our farm and the boys have been picking for me. I've been slowly collecting quart jars at Goodwill and borrowed my moms canner and rack today for hot water bath canning. I have had a fear of it but yet wanted to conquer it! I decided to make apple pie filling since it's something we can use and also give away as gifts. I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com and realized I needed a couple more things so off to Goodwill we went. I found the 2 more jars I needed and Craig found a Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer for $2.99! We also found a separate apple slicer and corer for 69 cents. We had an incredible steak dinner and then went to work on our first canning mission. The girls were asleep for the night so it was just Craig, Jacob, and me. Jacob manned the peeler and Craig used the corer/cutter. We could have just done it all with the Pampered Chef one but I wanted the apple slices thicker. I got to work on the spiced syrup for the apples and we were moving right along! Here's where the problem came in to play: once we'd packed the apples into the jars, poured syrup over them, put on the lids and rings.....I put them into boiling water in the canner. If you've canned before this is where you go "oh no!" If not, let me tell you- 5 of the the 7 jars broke. Apple pie filling filled the canner. I was so sad. All that work and time and the ruined jars. And mostly I really hate anything in the kitchen defeating me! I felt like the canner won. Now as to why I put lukewarm jars into boiling water....it's a mystery. Somehow I misread/misheard/misunderstood and didn't quite get the part that the water should be hot but NOT boiling. Big mistake and a major lesson learned.

By this time it was about 11:30pm and we'd sent Jake to bed. Craig knew this would eat at me and bother the heck out of me so he went to Walmart to get more jars. I worked like a mad woman peeling apples and getting the sauce ready. I thought to myself, "you little apples will not beat me!" I wanted to have them all peeled and ready by the time Craig got home. He hit a line of 10 people at Walmart (surprise, surprise) so I actually was all ready when he got home :) 12:15am rolls around and in walks Craig with jars, orange Fanta, and mallow pumpkins. My savior!

We got the 2nd round of jars packed with apples, the syrup poured over and the lids and rings on. I very cautiously lowered them into the hot but NOT boiling water and prayed, "Dear Jesus please don't let these jars break!" And voila, no cracking! Phew. The burner temp was at a 5 (med) so I cranked it up to 8 to get it boiling. Took about 20 minutes and maybe I could have put it on high but I was so nervous of cracking the jars I didn't want to take any chances. At this moment they are finishing their 20 minute hot water bath. After that I will take them out and let them cool for 12 hours. Hopefully every single lid will be sealed correctly. If not, I'll be making apple pie tomorrow!

So, here's my recipe, a modified version of the too boring Allrecipes.com one:

(Makes 7 Quart jars)

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 pounds apples


Directions

  1. In a large pan, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings by boiling them in a large pot of water.
  3. Peel, core, and slice apples. Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.
  4. Fill jars with hot syrup, and gently remove air bubbles with a plastic knife.
  5. Put lids on and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Done! Pretty simple right? I did taste the filling and it's very good. My apples are a tad on the sweet side, but this recipe would be great with a more tart apple.

Ok, now my jars are on the counter and cooling. Zero broke this time so I have 9 quart jars of apple pie filling! YAY! I plan to make blackberry jam very soon and also apple sauce. I think and hope that the more I can the more confident I'll feel doing it.

Time for pics! This is where the apples begin:
 We have a few trees like this on the property, but this one is closest and therefore our favorite :)
How sweet is this pic? Father daughter cuddling under the apple tree in matching Carhartt overalls :)
The boys working on the apples.
Sugar syrup on the left, canning pot on the right.
Proof I was in fact there.
They are so beautiful! All packed and ready for the canner. Also, another lesson learned- don't transport them in the rack. Put the rack in the pot and bring the jars to the rack :)
Gorgeous apple pie filling!
Bringing the water to a boil.
The lone 2 jars that survived my first attempt at canning. Thankfully there are now 9 jars on the counter :)










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