Adventures In Apple Canning

Apple Vignette

Our friend Sarah is quite intrepid at putting things by, and in the process of teaching herself how to can a while back, stumbled across a recipe for canned apples with red hots. Well, when she mentioned it to us, we decided that we all simply had to try it. It wasn’t apple season, though, when we started making plans for it, so we had to bide our time for almost a year.

Weighing Apples

Finally, at long last, it’s fall again, and after a family excursion to pick heaps of apples, Sarah invited us over for the big canning day.

Mountain of Apples

Now, neither Pookie nor I have ever canned anything, so it was very exciting to get to try out this mysterious art for the very first time. The process was pretty simple. Just peel, core and slice a mountain of apples, make a syrup with sugar, water, red hots, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and vinegar (I think that was everything), toss the apples into the syrup, simmer for a few minutes, then pack into prepared jars.

Schnookie and Sarah Canning

It was a beautiful fall day, and we had a great time in Sarah’s sun-drenched kitchen working on all of those steps. It seems canning isn’t really nearly as scary as it sounds… at least on the front end. Who knows if all of our labors will yield a bunch of pints of botulism.

Glass Jars

While Sarah definitely knew her way around a canning set-up, she insisted that she was by no means an expert. And so it was a lovely low-key canning party, at which there wasn’t too much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth when three of our first six cans didn’t seal properly. The recipe book seemed to suggest we shrug it off, return the apples to the pot, and try again.

Pookie Ladling

The only disappointment with this project was that red hots don’t mix well with water. We all visualized, way back when we first heard of the recipe, pretty jars of apple slices with red hots suspended artfully (and brightly red) all around them. Instead, they melted. And even though several red hots in the container Sarah was storing them in had come in contact with some water and melted into big clumps, we still didn’t realize that was going to happen until after the red hots had been stirred into the pot and started turning into syrup. We’re very, very smart that way.

Red Hots!!!

Apples Aslant

We suppose it’s okay that we didn’t end up with apples studded with solid red hots in the end, because a pretty pink syrup is almost as good. And either way, the product was delicious.

Peel Vignette

Even with some failed seals and having to re-can half the apples, the whole process was so simple and fun that we decided to make a second variety of canned apples, this time with dried cherries and golden raisins.

Apples with Cherries and Raisins

With just a little bit of work, we ended up turning 14 pounds of apples into 10 beautiful jars of tasty treats. And, as we always do when we’re at Sarah’s house, we had a fantastic time. She and her husband Paul have such a lovely home, with so many wonderful things to photograph, and far more importantly, they’re such a fun family. What a great day!

Spool Tower

Pumpkin Scale

Chickens Eating Apple Peels

Paul and Clark Reading

Paper Lanterns

Schnookie, Fabulous

Bird Egg Gourds

October 4 2009

Final Count



Filed under Bonanza!, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

17 responses to “Adventures In Apple Canning

  1. Sarah

    Thanks for coming over, I had so much fun! Your pictures are beautiful. I highly recommend that everyone have someone be a designated photographer during any cooking event. I’m amused that you photographed our dirty porch lights! And for the record people who don’t know me….I am not actually smoking I’m holding the little magnetic doohickey used for fetching canning lids from the boiling water. I love my Betty Draper picture!

  2. A designated photographer is a great idea and made it run very smoothly! (Although it should be noted many of these photos [the best ones] were taken by Schnookie!)

    Thanks again for having us over! I highly recommend that every have friends like you and Paul! :D

  3. LizD

    I am insanely jealous! Looks like you guys had a fabulous time and ended up with a bunch of yummy apples to enjoy when the cold winter sets in.

  4. I guess living in NYC limits the space for canning and putting food by, doesn’t it? :(

  5. Liz

    Ah, we could make due. We’ve got a lot of storage, but not a lot of time.

  6. That is one serious canning recipe. You’ll have to let us know how it tastes!

  7. Dudes! I can’t believe I didn’t see this post until today! Your canned apples look amazing. I still need to do mine as well.

    Also, the Betty Draper photo is awesome. Best. Apron. Evah.

  8. Mary

    Hi, Love your photos and all the fun you must have shared. Today we just finished 24 pints of Quince Jelly and 15 of quince sauce ~ awesome with lamb and pork. The jelly is so Yummy and great on apple or cheese slices :-)
    Question? Would like to try your Apple slices with raisins and dried cherries. Would you e-mail me the recipe Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :-) I am looking at about 10 lbs of apples and have not canned them before as slices! Thank-you and have a Brilliant Weekend,

  9. NANCY

    I too am a first time canner of fruit. I canned vevgetables but jam and apples are my first at 65 am enjoying it that is why I want to try canning apples for the future

  10. Sarah

    Hey carolbrowne, I have to jump in here and say thanks for the apron comment, as I made it! I wear it all the time and love it. The pattern was “Fruit Tart” from the book A is for Apron.

  11. Douglas

    Have you folks retired your garden, yet, for the winter, or are things still growing? We had a frost that knocked our what (very little) remained of our tomato crop this week. But the swiss chard is struggling on bravely, as are the collard greena and (less bravely), the kale. I would have harvested the beets this weekend, but the ground was too wet.

  12. Schnookie gleaned the last of the soup beans today, so our garden is ready for the final steps of the year which will happen on Sunday — planting garlic and covering the beds with straw. It’s been raining so much and we’ve been lazy, so the bean harvest was smaller than it probably should have been. It’s been that kind of year, eh? We’re all due awesome garden seasons next year, I think!

  13. Oh, and I meant to add, you were still getting tomatoes?!? Wowza!

  14. Douglas

    We were still getting a few grape tomatoes, which for some reason, unlike the other tomato plants, had escaped the blight. We had hoped to put down the winter rye today (that’s how we winterize our garden). But it’s raining again. Geez, what a year.

  15. I’d love to put winter rye in our garden for the winter, but I worry about how to remove it since we can’t exactly mow raised beds. And yeah, any old time it wants to start raining is fine with me!

  16. Douglas

    For our part, we don’t mow winter rye. Come spring, just before we plant, we turn the winter rye over (by hand, with a shovel) and let it decompose in the ground.

  17. Hmmm, innnnteresting. Maybe one of these years we’ll try it out! I’m sure it’s better for the the soil than just covering it with straw. Although, one year we tried covered them with shredded leaves, and those didn’t decompose at all.

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