Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple pie anyone?

If you are wondering where I have been, among other things, I have been up to my eyeballs in apples and pears! This morning there were 5-5 gallon buckets of apples in the kitchen just staring at me, taunting me-I could no longer avoid them...something had to be done. I have made several batches of jam in the last few weeks, but today I wanted to make a bigger dent in my apple stash.
The animals that reside here have been more than helpful in reducing the surplus-Rooster Cogburn and Charles Bronson have been happily nibbling away.
The only problem with the roosters is that they choose the very best windfalls, take a few pecks out of each one and leave the rest....apparently they have never heard one of my mother's favorite expressions...or threats...depending on your viewpoint, "take what you want, but eat what you take." She was raising 6 of us crumb-grabbers so wastefulness was not tolerated.
The dogs, however, would have gotten along just fine in my mother's household-they don't believe in wasting anything either and have been feasting on anything that hits the ground-as well as some that did not have a chance to hit the ground but instead were plucked, by said dogs, from the lowest branches of the trees heavy with fruit.
At least Bailie looks a little remorseful for her gluttonous ways.....

.... I can't say the same for the other two canines...

I digress.....
So, the order of the day, as I mentioned earlier, was to use up some apples in a more constructive way. I opted for canning apple pie filling.
If you do any canning, and do not have one of these handy-dandy gadgets, you really need to have one. These apple peeler/corer/slicer thingies are invaluable when you are trying to cut up a boat-load of apples. I refused to use one for several years......'cause, as you know by now, I like to do things the hard way. I finally saw the light a couple of years ago after cutting and coring two trees full of apples by hand, and afterward, could barely move my very pruney hands for quite some time. My sister saw my plight, took pity upon me and gave me one of these marvelous inventions and now I can't live (at least not during apple season) without one.
I just attach it to the side of the sink. A few turns of the crank and you have these nice little apple spirals that are ready to cut up and can. I still check for bad spots and cut those out, because, unlike the commercial produce packagers that allow a certain amount of bug parts per batch, I have ZERO allowable parts of anything that is not clearly identifiable as apple. Zero. Gross.

Yay! All ready for canning.
As an added bonus, there is a sink-full of lovely apple entrails for the chickens, horses and sheep...the dogs have had enough, thank-you.
And the finished product.
I guess I should give you the recipe, shouldn't I? I may have posted it last year, but I am too lazy to look through my archives, so here it is (again?).

The recipe that I have calls for corn starch as a thickener, but I prefer to use "Clear Jel" it is more stable in canned pie filling and doesn't start to separate over time like corn starch can. I have to buy mine from the Amish grocery store.....soooo if you don't live near an Amish community, I dunno, you may have to use corn starch....which is what the recipe called for in the first place, so you are fine.

3 1/2 cups of white sugar 10 cups water
1 cup of brown sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup Clear Jel (corn starch) 6 pounds apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon ( I use lots more)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ( again, I use more)
2 teaspoons salt

1) Sterilize quart size canning jars, lids and rings in a large pot of boiling water.
2) Peel, core and slice apples. Pack apples into hot canning jars leaving an inch of head space.
3)In a large pot mix; sugars, cornstarch (or clear gel), cinnamon and nutmeg. Add salt and water, mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
4) Pour hot syrup over apples in jars, fill to one inch head space, gently remove air bubbles along the sides of jar with a spatula or knife. .
5) Fasten lids on and process jars in hot water bath canner for 20 minutes.
Happy canning!


Spring Lake Farm said...

Great pictures! What a nice post to read first thing in the morning. It made me smile (especially the dogs, and you were right no remorse at all on the last two). Have a good day!

tbsomeday said...

mmm, are those christmas gifts for all of your blog followers this year? :)
i love your dogs pics...i love our furry friends
least they are eating apples and not rotting animals like my dogs these days.....
i might have to zip down and feast with the animals, or plant some pear and apple trees myself
everyone tells me you have to spray them tons and i don't want to do that
do you find them hard to maintain?

IowaCowgirl said...

Hi from another Eastern Iowan,
I have been drowning in apples too! Dried, frozen, pies, cobblers, crisps, on and on....will it never end??? 8-)

I saw your post on Chickens in the Road and had to reply!

Have fun on this crummy wet day!

Michelle said...

Our apple trees finked out this year so I need to get myself to the bottom of the hill and pick some there for .35/lb. before they're all gone. We eat a lot of applesauce here.

Mom L said...

Will you come bake for me, too?

Nancy in SW Iowa

Judy T said...

Mmmm! I'm still waiting for my apples to come in. I'm sure my mother will inundate us at some point with apples from their orchard. I can a similar spiced apple (and pear) product but I don't thicken it. We use it on oatmeal in the winter- the syrup and fruit sweetens the oatmeal and it's oh, so yummy!
LOVE the dog photos!

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