This is what I canned one day last week: Apple Butter, Marmalade, and Chutney. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you are probably wondering where I got apples from this early- our first apples to ripen, Gravensteins, won’t be ripe for a couple of weeks yet.
This is a five gallon bucket full of Gravenstein apple thinnings. Yes, you’re supposed to thin apples when they are a lot smaller. As you can see, however, I didn’t get to it until I noticed that the tree is LOADED this year and the apples where so squished together that I was looking at a bunch of small apples if I didn’t give them some room quickly.
But since these apples were so much bigger than normal thinnings, I couldn’t bear to throw them away, so I decided to use them in recipes that call for sugar to offset the sour taste. And these babies were SOUR. Whew- talk about a pucker when I bit into one to see what I was dealing with!
I peeled and cut the biggest apples for the marmalade and chutney and made these first.
We really like Addictive Tomato Chutney (it’s my ketchup!) and sometimes I make a rhubarb chutney, but I’ve never made (or eaten) Apple Ginger Chutney before. Since apples and pork are often served together, I’m thinking it would be good with pork- what do you think? Since I wasn’t sure about this recipe, I only made four 1/2-pints.
I’ve also never made marmalade before, either. I decided to make an apple and lemon marmalade to use as glazes for ham and chicken, since I don’t think my family will be into putting lemons, rinds and all, on their toast. *smile*
I couldn’t find a recipe that didn’t use commercial pectin, however. I know that under-ripe apples are super high in pectin (it’s one of the fruits used in commercial pectin, I believe) so I didn’t want to use additional pectin. In the end I used a recipe from one of my cookbooks for apple marmalade, but added lemon instead of the orange it called for. Here’s my adapted recipe:
Simple Apple-Lemon Marmalade (for glazes or toast)
- Heat 1-1/2 cups of water with 5 cups of sugar until dissolved
- Add 8 cups of chopped apples, 2 Tb. lemon juice, and one thinly sliced lemon (including rind)
- Boil this until it reaches the jelly stage (220 degrees), about 15-20 minutes, skimming any foam
- Fill jars, seal, and then process them in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. (For more information on canning, see Water Bath Canning Step-by-Step)
Makes seven 1/2-pints.[/recipe]
For the remaining small apples- quite a lot that I knew would take forever to peel- I simply cored them, cut them in quarters, and cooked them in a small amount of water until soft (you do have to stir often, though, because they will stick). Then I put them through one of these apple presses (I’m not sure of the actual name…) to get a smooth sauce and leave the skins behind. Easy.
Since I had been cutting apples and canning most of the day by this point, I decided to make apple butter in the slow cooker. I poured the (very sour) applesauce into my 6-quart slow cooker, added brown sugar, honey, and spices and set it to cook on high for an hour before turning it down to low for overnight.
The next morning I removed the lid and turned it up to high again to make the sauce thicker. It took about two more hours, actually, to get it to the thick consistency I like. Then I processed them in 1/2-pint jars for 10 minutes. I got nine half-pints- which will probably be all the apple butter we need for the year.
All this from apples I would have thinned and thrown away just a month earlier. With the addition of sugar, these all tasted great- you’d never know they started out as under-ripe apples!
Hmmm…maybe I should put off thinning the apples every year?