Today was a marathon in the kitchen. An apple marathon is as close as I’ll ever get to a marathon and I’m OK with that.
This weekend the local orchard was holding their 6th annual Gleaning of the Orchards. I was able to pick – most had fallen – apples for $4 a half bushel. That’s a steal! So my daughter and a young family friend headed to the orchard and managed to pick 2 bushels of Staymen and Macintosh apples. The apples were not bruised and had very few blemishes and were still very crisp. What a score!
I gave a half bushel to the girl’s family since she was such a great help. Then I made my plan for today since I was off work.
Last night I peeled and cored 7 pounds of apples and put them in the crock pot for apple butter. The house smelled amazing this morning when I got up and I was able to get 9 half pints of apple butter canned first thing.
On to the rest of the apples. A bushel and a half really didn’t seem like that much until I began peeling them. Thank God I have an apple peeler/corer that I got last year or I’d still be in the kitchen! I peeled just under 21 pounds for apple sauce and put them on the stove to cook down while I moved on to making pie filling.
I made 6 quarts of pie filling, lost two seals so I made a pie with the contents of those jars.
Once the apple sauce was cooked down enough, I put it in jars and into the canner.
Thankfully a friend stopped by this afternoon after she got off work and helped me peel a bunch of apples to put up as baking apples. We peeled and cored enough for 7 quarts of baking apples that I canned in water. I loved the help but mostly loved her company – it makes the time go by quickly. She will get some of the good stuff for helping!
My friend had to go home, but before she did we looked through the Ball Blue Book of canning for more recipes. We stumbled on apple-maple jam. Oh yes! Another 6 pounds of apples to peel and core and make jam. I got 11 half pints out of the recipe and it smelled delicious! I can’t wait to try it!
I had a few jar accidents today and that’s always frustrating. I used two very old blue tinted canning jars for pie filling and they didn’t seal. The weird thing was that the rings and lids just came off in the canner. The jars didn’t break. I don’t understand it, because the lids and rings were tightened when I put them in the water bath.
Another jar broke in my hand while washing it in the sink 😦
Then something happened that I am going to have to research. One of the jars that had the apples for baking in it was floating a bit in the water when the canning time was done. Usually that means the bottom of the jar cracked and blew off during processing. But, the bottom was in tact and no fruit was lost from the jar. I removed all the other jars and this jar began floating on its side. I’ve never seen anything like it. I took the jar out of the canner and set it in a sauce pot. It has since sealed and there’s no visible cracks in the jar or loss of liquid. Can’t figure it out!
Thirteen hours in the kitchen today – my hands are sore, my legs ache, but I wouldn’t trade this for the world. I truly love to can.