Brrr. It’s starting to feel like October in Boston. It was in the 40′s when I woke up this morning and when the alarm went off it took all the willpower I had not to roll over and hide under the duvet. On fall weekends I love sleeping in on mornings like this, but on weekdays they are positively brutal. I can tell that the switch back to hot breakfasts is almost inevitable. Baked french toast and stovetop oatmeal here I come.
On a happier note, Sunday was all about celebrating something that makes up for fall’s chilly mornings – bountiful autumn produce. I got together with a friend and her neighbor for a canning party. I realize that canning seems very retro, but I found it to be incredibly relaxing. (The fact that we drank good wine and nibbled on pizza while canning didn’t hurt either.) Between the three of us we had an abundance of tomatoes and apples so we ended up making two varieties of salsa, apple butter, and canned apple pie filling. The pie filling was the recipe I chose because it seemed easy and like something that would be handy to have in bulk. I don’t actually envision I will be using it to make pies and instead think there will be lots of apple sundaes and apple-topped pancakes in my future. I adapted this recipe because I couldn’t find the clearjel it originally called for. It’s ultra easy and a great recipe for someone new to canning.
Adapted from Freshpreserving.com
Yields about 7 (16 oz) pints
-12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, treated to prevent browning* and drained (about 12 medium)
-2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
-1/2 cup cornstarch
-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice, preferably fresh
-1 1/4 cups cold water
-1/2 cup lemon juice
-7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
Blanch apple slices, working with 6 cups at a time, in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large stainless steel saucepan. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until misture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately fold apple slices into hot mixture. Before processing, heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.
Ladle hot pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
Process jars in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
*To treat apple slices to prevent browning, apply Ball® Fruit-Fresh® Produce Protector according to the manufacturer’s instructions or submerge cut apples in a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water.