Apples Aplenty

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In the dark days of winter we will remember the lush colors of spring, summer, and autumn. Small tokens will remind us of the sunny days: a sea shell, a pressed flower, or a jar of something yummy canned at the peak of sweetness. 

One Sunday morning not very long ago I woke Quinn up quite early (too early for his liking I believe) and we emerged from the Barn into a lovely foggy dawn. The sun was just starting to break through the thick billows of mist, and in that wonderful light of morning we started picking apples. 

Though Quinn wasn't too excited to get up with the rising sun, the prospect of jars and jars of apple butter in the larder was a scrumptious thought. We set to work finding the biggest apples and filling the trug. After scouring the trees in our back yard we returned inside to start the long work of pealing and slicing them.

 The recipe we used for our apple butter is one that was sent to me by my penpal, Jaclyn. It was perfect for us as it used a crockpot. We have had our crockpot for three years (since our wedding) and I haven't hardly used it at all! The last two months I have been trying to use it at least once every week, and I have come to love it as my new favorite way to cook dinner (If you have any good crockpot recipes I should try, email them to me!). The apple butter would cook in the crockpot for 12 hours, which is why Quinn had to get out of bed so early this morning.

Some of my favorite spices got added to the apples in the crockpot, and soon it was sitting in the corner starting to cook. Meanwhile, Quinn and I got ready for church and headed out into the sun once again...

What a lovely morning to drive into town and go to church!

Upon returning home we were met with the most heavenly smell! Who knew apple butter smelled so wonderful? The whole house smelled of Christmas - which I have been looking forward to quite a bit (I'm listening to Christmas music as I write this - haha).
At the beginning of January of last year I purchased a book entitled "The Homemaker's Mentor - Treasury of Homekeeping Skills" (I bought it on Amazon here.) In it, women from all over share stories of their grandmothers and mothers who were true homemakers, and along the way share wisdom about everything from first aid to cleaning and keeping a household. I particularly loved the canning and preserving section, and I'll be sharing the recipe I used for canned apple pie filling from the book with you today!

Now that we were home from church we set to work in the front yard, where the apples were bigger than in the back yard, but also higher up...
There may have been some screaming and carryings-on as I was not too keen to fall and it seemed that was the only thing to do when being that high up! Oh dear! Oh well, I made it through without a bump, and Quinn did not mention my weight at any time, haha!

With basket and trug full of apples we went back into the kitchen for another round of peeling, coring, and slicing, this time putting the cut apples in to bowls of water with a little lemon juice added, to help prevent browning. While I worked on the apples, Quinn worked on making the apple pie syrup and preparing the canning jars.

Once the big jars were sterilized and the syrup all ready, we worked fast to pack the cut apples into the jars, pouring the yummy smelling syrup to fill them up. Off into the boiling water bath they went!

Before we knew it hot jars of apple pie filling started lining up on the counter - and oh what a great feeling of accomplishment we felt! 

The sun is setting earlier and earlier with the arrival of Autumn, and before we knew it it was dark outside and the time to take lovely pictures was over. Because of this I don't have any photos of us canning the apple butter, but I can tell you the feeling of accomplishment was the same - how wonderful to have yummy things on the shelves from your own yard or garden! We finished with six quart jars of apple pie filling, and six quarter pint jars of apple butter - a good number if I do say so myself. 

We have already started eating through the apple butter, and I think Quinn agrees that waking up early was worth it. Our apple crop was great this year, and I hope next year we'll be making these same recipes again - hopefully with some new ones too!

Apple Pie Filling
From The Homekeeper's Mentor -
Treasury of Homekeeping Skills

Peel, core, and slice 6 pounds of tart apples. Keep prepared apples immersed in water containing a tablespoon of lemon juice, to prevent browning while preparing killing syrup.
In a large saucepan bled together:
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt

Add in and cook and stir until thickened:
10 cups of water
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Pack apples into clean, sterilized quart jars up to 1 inch from the neck of the jar. Fill with hot, thick syrup. Do not fill to top but leave a bit of headspace. Use a spatula to help distribute syrup. Wipe rims clean and adjust lids and bands. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Makes 6 quarts.

To Serve: Prepare a double pie crust pastry. Line pie plate with pastry and add in 1 quart of pie filling. Dot with butter. Top with 2nd pie crust, crimp and seal edges. Cut slits for steam to escape. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake on a baking sheet, lined with foil, to catch drips. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

1 comment :

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs