Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apples, Apples, Apples

So I brought home a good many apples from my Dad's, and got started today "puttin' 'em by", as the Granny's would say.
I planned to make Apple Jelly, Applesauce, and to start some Apple Cider Vinegar, all at the same time.

Birds like apples, too. They like to peck a little at one and move on to another one, and another one, and.... But that's okay, just cut out the icky part and there's still a lot of good, useable apple left.

I threw the peelings and cores and icky parts in a glass gallon jar for the Apple Cider Vinegar. This is a pickle or jalapeno jar from Sam's Club, which I saved a few of from when I volunteered with the local Little League concession stand a few years ago.

For every quart of water, I needed to add 1/4 cup of sugar. I didn't know how many quarts I'd need so I mixed it one quart at a time. Ended up taking about 3 quarts, and a tad more, which I used to rinse the rest of the sugar out of the measuring cup.

All the online directions say to put a dish or something in the top to make sure the apple stuff stays submerged under the water. I had a terrible time finding anything to fit in the top of this jar. Finally got one of my plastic storage bowl lids to go in.

Then I covered with cheesecloth held by a rubberband, and put it in a (hopefully) cool, dark place to start fermenting. I'm supposed to stir and scrape off any mold every few days, or wait a week, or two weeks, then strain into a jar (or jars), cover with cheesecloth again and store in cool, dark place for 4 or 6 weeks.
Then I can leave or skim off the "Mother", and pour into a jar (or jars) and use.

I didn't count how many apples I ended up using, plus the count probably would have been off anyway since I had to cut some large chunks up to half the apple off due to bird pecks or bruising (the sweeter, softer variety apples are easy to bruise). I just cut until I filled my pot, and then I had to do another half pot to get the 6 cups of juice I needed.
I added 4 cups of water to this pot, and 3 to the additional pot.

After I boiled the apples to mush, I squeezed and mashed them through cheesecloth to get the juice. (There's a bowl under the colander).

I added 6 cups of apple juice back to my pot and added 1/2 package (2 ounces) of Sure-jell mixed with 1/4 cup of Sugar.
I read that apples are naturally high in Pectin so shouldn't need the entire package of Pectin to gel. I don't know yet if mine worked, or if I'll have to re-do them tomorrow, adding the rest of the package. Hopefully not.

I brought it to a rolling boil, then poured in the remainder of the 7 cups of sugar (6-3/4 cups). Brought it back to a rolling boil, and boiled for exactly 1 minute.

Then I filled my prepared half-pint jars with liquid jelly, and topped with (hot, boiling) lids and rings.

These jars are squatty instead of tall so I just used my regular boilers with dishcloths in the bottom so the jars didn't touch the pan to do their water bath. Processed 5 minutes after bringing to gentle boil.

After squeezing the apples for the juice, I was left with a bowl of an almost pulpy apple mash. I added water until it seemed liquidy enough, about 3 cups or so. I also added sugar until I liked the taste, about 1 cup.
I cooked, stirred, and mashed it until I got it the consistency I liked.

Filled my prepared pint jars. I did have to break out my big water bath canner for these. I didn't time how long I processed these. A few minutes, long enough to clean up some of the dishes.

Ended up with 5 pints of applesauce, and 12 half-pints of jelly. Plus the Apple Cider Vinegar in progress. Not bad for a day's work I reckon.

1 comment:

Amber said...

Looks amazing! Very good post. I like the pictures of it too!

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