Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Traditions, Apple Picking and Apple Pie Filling!

Every single year we have lived here, without fail, rain or shine we head out to Grafton to go pick apples and pumpkins at Eckerts.  We love the atmosphere of this farm.  We love taking a hayride into the apple orchards and out to the pumpkin patch.  The kids can pick out any pumpkin they want as long as they can carry it.  They love the fresh apple cider and of course funnel cake and kettle corn.  Yum!

Our youngest was a little cold when we got there and she didn't seem very enthusiastic.  As soon as we got out to the apple orchard and she realized she could pick apples (which she loves to eat) straight off the tree, she got super excited.

So we ended up with a bunch of apples.  More than we could possibly eat.

So I decided to make a batch of Apple Pie Filling and can it.

I washed, peeled and sliced all the apples.  If you are making a huge batch of this, a peeler and/or corer would probably come in handy, but being part irish and pretty handy with a paring knife I did mine by hand.  I like my apple to have a little bite to it and not be mushy so I cut mine in fairly large slices.  I also mixed up the two different varieties of apples we had.  I really like the end result of tart and sweet mixed together.

If you have never canned before take a visit to the USDA's site.  Some recipes may contain outdated or inaccurate information so check them against the guidelines provided on the site.

I used the following recipe:
9 cups water
1 cup cornstarch
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel, core and slice your apples.  I'm not sure how many pounds of apples I had.  I put the apples into a bowl of water with about a tablespoon of lemon in to keep them from going brown.

In a large pot mix together the water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup of water.  Slowly add to the syrup mixture while stirring.  

Tightly pack your hot sterilized jars with the apple slices.  Pour the syrup over the apples.  You may want to use a flat utensil to scrape around the jar to get the syrup flowing and eliminate air bubbles.  Leave an inch of headspace at the top of the jar.  Seal your jars and process in a hot water bath for 20 mins.

 I was able to can 12 - 1 pint jars full of pie filling.  (I did have some syrup left over)  I think quarts would have been more practicle for my family of five but I only had pint jars on hand.

Hmm, Is it time to make pie yet?