I love to can, and to make jams and preserves. It makes me feel nostalgic of a time I may have lived in a past life, or something. I love the old-fashioned feel of food preserving. I know, I know… I am a mega dorky nerd.
My mom also loves to can; she makes the most amazing pickles, relishes, canned sauces and pie fillings. It’s amazing that she finds the time to do these things. That said, it’s amazing how most of us find the time to do the things we do! Right? This year, after making relishes, pickles, fruit jams, and a list of other things (I’m sure), my mom asked me to make her apple pie filling. I of course accepted. So, for this VeganMoFo post, here is my version of my mom’s canned spiced apples.
Canning is actually very easy, just a little time-consuming. If you have everything ready and in place, it will be greatly beneficial to you during the canning process. The first thing I ever canned was homemade apple butter. Then I made grape jam, fig preserves, plum jam…. the list goes on. Once you start canning, you will become addicted and want to can everything you can think of.
Canned Spiced Apples
12 pounds apples (I used 6 lbs. golden delicious + 6 lbs. jonathan apples. Do not use red delicious apples. You want a sweet, crisp apple. The fresher the apple, the better – soft, overly ripe apples are not good to use for canning)
1/4 cup lemon juice
12 cups water
1 – 12 ounce container of apple juice concentrate
4 cups natural cane sugar
3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoons ground nutmeg
6 – 1 quart (32 ounce) glass canning jars w/ lids
large stock pot for cooking apples
large stock pot, pressure canner or water bath canner – for sealing jars (I use a regular stock pot for canning, so information on using a canner can be found here– and actually the site has a ton of useful information on canning).
a jar lifter or tongs
Wash and sterilize your canning jars and lids in boiling hot water – or in the dishwasher. Set aside on a clean towel to cool and dry.
In a large bowl, pour in the lemon juice. Peel, core and slice your apples, you want slices about 1/4 of an inch (not too thick, not too thin). Place apple slices in the bowl with the lemon juice as you slice them, toss every so often to coat. After all your apple slices are ready, prepare your liquid. In a large stock pot, bring the water to a boil, add the apple juice concentrate and sugar and stir. Dissolve completely. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Add apple slices and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. You just want the apples to be blanched, and not cooked too soft. Turn off heat.
Spoon apples into jars. Fill the apples almost all the way up to the top of the jar, leaving about 2 1/2 inches of space. Then, ladle the hot liquid syrup over the apples until about 1 inch to the top of the jar. Eliminate air bubbles by gently pushing down on apples with a spoon. With a clean, damp kitchen towel, clean off any spilled liquid off of the jar, especially the rim. Seat the lid on the jar and tightly twist close the lid. Repeat these steps for all jars. You will have some liquid syrup left over. (You could use it as a base for apple cider! I mixed half the leftover liquid syrup with water and it made a yummy cider).
Now, to create a vacuum seal for your jars in a hot water bath: Add enough water to the stock pot to cover the jars by 2 inches. Bring water to a boil. Carefully lower the jars into the boiling water using the tongs, leaving 1/2 inch space between jars. Wait for the water to return to a boil and then wait 8 minutes (i.e., process for 8 minutes).Turn off heat, remove jars and place them on a flat surface where they can rest undisturbed for 8 hours. After this time, test the lids by pressing down on them. If they are tight and don’t move, the seals are good. Canned apples will stay good for up to one year if stored in a cool, dry place.
You can use the apples for pies, cobblers, tarts, as a topping for ice cream or pancakes… as a filling for muffins… the possibilities are almost endless.