Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Can Apples for Pies or Toppings

how to can apples at home

To can apples at home you will need canning jars, apples, and a water bath canner, or a large stockpot. If you do not have your own apple tree consider visiting a nearby orchard for wonderfully fresh and local apples. Planting an apple tree, or any fruit tree, is a worthwhile investment. Fruit trees cost very little and require minimal care after they are fully established. An apple tree can provide fruit for decades.

A common question asked by those learning to can apples at home is, "What kind of apples should I use?" The answer is that any apple can be used. Eating apples are usually larger and sweeter than cooking apples. The reason for the classification is that "cooking apples" are not as enjoyable to eat raw and are therefore, designated for cooking instead. That does not mean that an "eating apple," isn't perfectly fine to cook. Any variety of apple, or combination, can be used for canning. Apple varieties that are known for retaining their shape and texture after canning are Braeburn, Empire and Rome. The varieties of canning apples make very good pie fillings and canned apple rings.


Basic Recipe to Can Apples

  • 9 pounds of apples
  • 2 ½ cups Sugar
  • 5 cups Water
Wash, core and peel the canning apples, then quarter them. As the apples are cut, they will need to be treated to prevent them from oxidation, or browning. Oxidation not only looks unsightly, the nutritional value of fruit is actually reduced as oxidation occurs. Treating the apples with “Fruit Fresh,” or similar product will work, but I prefer a more natural approach. A few teaspoons of lemon or lime juice added to water that covers the apples completely will prevent browning as you slice them. Prepare a syrup using 2 ½ cups of sugar to each 5 cups of water. Boil the syrup until it thickens to the desired thickness. Then gently simmer the apples in the syrup for 5 minutes. Pack the apples into canning jars and process them for 20 minutes. This recipe is a perfect way to can apples for baking in pies later, or as an added topping to baked goods.


Canning Tips to Ensure the Jars Seal

Leave at least ½ an inch of space at the top of each canning jar. Always use sterile lids and rings. They can be sterilized by boiling or placing them in a dishwasher with a high temperature rinse cycle. New lids and rings are the safest way to can apples and ensure a good seal. If there are any air bubbles in the jar, run a spatula around the outside of the canning jar to remove them before sealing the jar. A water bath canner is preferable for boiling the jars, as it holds the jars in place and prevents them from banging together. However, any large stockpot can be used to “process,” or boil water canned foods such as apples.


Apple Rings

  • 10 pounds of apples
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
Wash the canning apples and remove the core. There is no need to peel them. Slice across the width of the apple to form ¼ inch rings. If you have a lot of apples, an electric deli slicer will make quick work of this project. Prepare a syrup of water and sugar. To prevent the apples from discoloring as they are cut, place a few teaspoons of lemon juice in the syrup mixture and drop each ring into it after slicing. Bring the apples and syrup to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmering for 40 minutes. Remove the apple rings from the syrup and layer them into the jars. The syrup can be simmered longer, if desired, to thicken it or poured over the apple rings immediately. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.


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