Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity, with tutoring starting again and house straightening to be finished, I managed to squeeze in a some quick canning. I decided to try out a recipe for brandied apple rings this year. I cut down the recipe considerably as I wanted to see if I would like this at all before making big batches of it. I selected out the prettiest red apples for this recipe as the skins are left on the apples.
After a good scrub, it was time to slice them into rings on the v-slicer and a quick dip in lemon water to keep the slices nice and white. I also use an apple corer to get perfect circles cut out of the centers. I do have to go back sometimes to clean up sides of seed casings that are left behind, but I try to maintain a rounded shape as best as I can. I thought these turned out very pretty. Then it was time to cook them in a sugar solution. I did this following the recipe, and I am not sure if the apples have become too soft or if they are just not a good fit for the recipe but they started to disintegrate after only 7 minutes in the syrup. They were supposed to cook for 15 minutes.
I took quick action and just started loading up the jars before I had nothing left. I then added the brandy to the sugar syrup, added it to the jars, and capped them off. Then it was into the water bath for processing. I think they turned out very pretty with the red color that naturally permeates through the jars. The recipe said you could add food coloring if desired, but I kept them plain to see how things naturally would develop. I hope they taste good, but for now, they look pretty and will be an interesting surprise for a later day.
As promised, I am going to post the recipes I use for apple jelly and butter. Please make sure you follow proper canning techniques when making these recipes, including processing finished products as well as maintaining the proper sanitation needed for safe canning.
4 cups apple juice (this takes about 3 pounds of apples and 3 cups of water)
2 tablespoons strained lemon juice
3 cups sugar
To Prepare the Juice Select about one fourth under ripe and three fourths fully ripe tart apples. Sort, wash and remove stem and blossom ends. Do not pare of core. (I do remove all the seeds though.) Cut apples into small pieces. Add water, cover and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until apples are soft. Extract the juice using a moistened jelly bag. This takes around 2 hours. If you want a clear jelly, do not squeeze the bag. For clearer jelly, refrigerate the juice overnight and skim off any solids that are in the juice. Keep solids from the jelly bag to make apple butter.
To Make Jelly Measure apple juice into a kettle. Adjust proportions of sugar to juice if necessary. Add lemon juice and sugar and stir well. Boil over high heat to 220 degrees F,if you are at higher elevations to 8 degrees above the boiling point of water, or until jelly mixture sheets from a spoon. Remove from heat, skim off foam quickly. Pour into prepared and sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in water bath.
Yields 3 to 4 eight ounce jelly jars.
Recipe amended to take into account higher elevations. Also look at the comments section below for my comment to learn an easier way to test for the set of jelly rather than the sheeting from the spoon.
2 quarts of cooked apple pulp
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
dash of allspice
Use apple pulp left over from preparing the apple jelly. Run the pulp from the jelly bag through a food mill or fine sieve to remove seeds, skin, and seed casings from the pulp. Measure the pulp and adjust sugar and spices proportionally to the pulp measurement. Add sugar and spices. Cook on medium low until the flavors are well blended, about 15 minutes. To prevent sticking, stir frequently as he mixture thickens. If the butter gets too thick for your liking, you can add a small amount of apple juice or water to thin. Pour hot apple butter into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Process pints and half pints for 15 minutes in water bath.
Yields about 5 pints.