Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Apples Galore!!

 Happy Almost Fall!!

Well in the Northeast, Fall is pretty much equivalent to apples, pumpkins, and hay bales. We recently were able to go apple picking at a friends house who has a great abundance of apples and was not stingy with sharing with us. So now that you go apple picking and get a little carried away and fill a reusable shopping bag full what are you going to do with them. Thats when I started going through pinterest for ideas. I mean you can only eat so many apples right...

So here is what we came up with...

1) Apple Butter in the crockpot (x2 batches)
2) Apple Sauce
3) Apple pies
4) Apple pie filling - canned
5) Apple fritter bread (x2)

Now don't go thinking that I am some sore of super woman in the kitchen. This was over the course of a few weeks. The apple butter was made from a different batch of apples.

Apple Butter in the Crockpot -
Recipe adapted from Simply Canning
  • Fill crockpot full with apples sliced and cored - I did not peel them.
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
I sliced and cored apples by hand because the apples were drops and not the greatest looking and cut out the bad parts. It did not affect the fast. I let the crockpot sit on high overnight. Then used the immersion blender to get a good consistency and break up the peels. I have a kitchen aid one that I use all the time.

After blending, I wanted it thicker so let it sit on low for another 10-12 hours when went to work.
It will be a nice brown color. You can let it cook and thicken to your liking. Next, just fill your jars with a 1/4 inch of space from the top, wipe the rims, place the lids, and water bath can for 5 minutes.

For canning I place my jars and rims in the dishwasher and run a sanitize cycle. Put the lids in a small sauce pan with water to let those heat up. Then follow these instructions.

I made 2 batches of this it was So easy. I have a half full jar that I didn't can in the fridge for immediate use. Which is excellent on fresh bread.

Apple Sauce -
I did this stove top because I knew that it wouldn't take long. Again, I peeled and cored apples by hand because they had some bad spots, but it didn't take too long to fill my big 8 quart "spaghetti" pot from All Clad.

I added 1-2 cups of homemade apple cider that we had made and canned last year. Side note - I need to use that up, so if you have any ideas please let me know.

 Heat it up - medium heat and stir. The apples break down pretty nicely on their own, just stir so it doesn't burn on the bottom. Sterilize canning jars, fill, and water bath can as you did above but for 20 minutes. I am never sure how long to water bath can so I am usually looking how to see what is recommended. If you are not sure then I would advise you to do that as well. You don't want to do the hard work of making and canning all of this for it not to seal properly.

Apple Pies - I made 3!!

 I cooked one to eat now and it was delicious. I don't use some secret recipe either. Just the one in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The recipes are tried and true. I use this book for most of my breads as well; zucchini, banana,....

I knew that I had a lot of apples and we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house, so I like to pre-make my pies. I used pillsbury pre made crust to make it easier on me. Then we got to peeling and slicing.

This Apple Peeler is one of the greatest inventions. It is so easy to use even my 3 year old can do it. If you don't have one I would highly recommend it. It also makes eating the apples fun, she calls it a slinky.

We filled this bowl fairly quickly using our fun gadget. Then followed the recipe for the pies. I froze 2 of the pies, unbaked. When it is time to eat them, I just thaw them and bake as I normally would. It really can't get any easier than that. I have been trying to do a lot of prep work, and pre making meals for when I have this baby (due Oct. 20th)

Canned Apple Pie Filling -
I do love apple pie but I didn't want to fill my freezer with pies. I found this recipe for canned apple pie filling. Best of all you can use it for anything. Adding to oatmeal, on top of pancakes or waffles, or just on top of ice cream. This was also fairly easy to make.

Disclaimer; there is some controversy whether you can can cornstarch or need to use Ultra Gel as the thickener. I decided to just use cornstarch and take my chances. I looked for the Ultra Gel and couldn't find it and didn't want to postpone my plans of making this on Sunday.

I filled my jars about 3/4 full with apple slices. Made my syrup (below), filled the jars with syrup to cover the apples, then added more apples to fill the jar. Some needed a little more syrup on top. I filled 6 quart size jars.

 I had a little extra syrup left over and dipped some apples, it was tasty. Can't wait to break one of the babies open. The blog states that you should be able to fill a pie or 9x9 pan (for apple crisp) with 1 quart size jar.

The last thing that I did with these apples was also the first thing - Apple Fritter Bread - thank you Pinterest. I have seen this on pinterest and couldn't wait to try it out. It did not disappoint.

I don't know where it originated from but I used The Baking Chocola Tess Recipe. No need to change a thing. The kids and I ate the first bread I made in less than 24 hours. I made another one this past Sunday.

Happy first day of Fall!! 

~ Katie