Sunday, October 4, 2009

Puttin' Up for the Winter

Well. I've done it!  I've actually been canning.  
I know you might say, "So what."  "Big Deal."  "So!" Well, for me this is big.  I always assumed canning was too difficult, messy, and time consuming for me to want to tackle it.

My mind was changed when I brought a bushel of apple home from my parents house. Challenged by the task of using them before they rot,  I thought, "I'm going to make some apple butter.  And I'm going to can it."  

I found a recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook that was appealing, bought a case of jars, and got the vegetable peeler out.  Actually, I got two of them out of the drawer and enlisted my husband to help peel and slice.

The results were fabulous.  Creamy, spicy, sweet and tart.  It is so good, I thought, " hmm, I bet I can make raspberry jam too."  But, we'll talk about that in the next posting.
Apple Butter
4 quarts apple cider
4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons ginger, divided
1 teaspoon cloves, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the apple cider in a large dutch oven, until reduced by half.
Add the apples and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered, stirring very frequently until apples begin to break apart, about 1 hour.  Continue to cook until no liquid separates from the pulp. You can test this by putting a spoonful on a plate and let sit for 1 minute. Look for liquid seeping from the mound. If  the mound stays solid the butter is finished.

In the mean time, wash 10-8 oz jelly jars, lids and rings.  Place jars in a large stock pot and cover with water to two inches above the jars.  Bring water to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes.  In the last minute add the lids.  You don't want to have them in the boiling water too long  or the seal with warp. 

Drain the jars as you need them. Leave hot water for processing.

Immediately pour apple butter into hot jars, leave about 1/4 inch space at the top.  Clean any spills. Seal with the lid and ring. Place finished jars back into the hot water bath and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove one by one and place hot jars on a clean kitchen towel.  Each jar will make a snapping sound, indicating it is properly sealed.  This can take place as soon as is comes out of the water or as long a a few hours later.  Once the jars are cooled, check each carefully to be sure the lid has sunk in and is properly sealed.  Any jar that has not sealed should be refrigerated and used first.

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