Saturday, July 19, 2014

Apple Picking and Canning

Last week I packed up the kids and headed out to Gilcrease Orchard. It's only about 15 minutes from us which is great! Last year I picked apples (while pregnant) and canned apple butter for Chirstmas gifts for my neighbors. It was so delicious! I ended up buying more apples from the store to make more and it just wasn't the same! This year I went early in the season. I get weekly news letters from Gilcrease that say what is ready for picking. When I saw apples I had to go right away!

It was a cloudy morning so it kept the heat away a bit. I started out with Lyric in my Ergo on my back and Melody in the wagon. Lyric fell asleep for a while and eventually I needed a break from having 20 extra pounds on my back! So Melody got out and walked and Lyric sat in the wagon. Much easier! Then, of course, the kids wanted to eat the apples! Sure!

Yes, I did take 3 pictures. They were so stinkin' cute! 

As we were walking up to the check out stand to pay, it started sprinkling. Just in time! Then it started raining a whole lot harder and we were all soaked by the time we got in the truck. The kids had a blast!

I decided instead of apple butter this year, I would make something a little less time consuming. So I decided on apple pie filling. I used this recipe here. Now, I will say, cornstarch is no longer recommended for canning. You should instead use Clear Jel, Ultra Gel, or Thick Gel which are modified cooking starches. I haven't been able to find the reasoning behind this, just that the USDA no longer recommends it for safe use in canning. Well, I couldn't find any of those here in town, and was going to have to order it online. Needless to say, I didn't want to wait for that, so I used a cornstarch recipe. I figure if it's been safe for this many years now, I should be fine.

So here are the pictures of the whole process: if you would like a tutorial, just click the link for the recipe above.

I used my apple peeler, slicer, corer to cut up the apples first. I just filled up my bowl. Then I filled my jars with the apples.

I still have half a box of apples left! 

I filled the jars with the sauce with 1/2 inch headspace and put the hot lids on.

I then, processed two batches in my waterbath canner for 20 minutes each.

I had a couple cups of sliced apples left so I made some applesauce. It smelled amazing! I somewhat followed the Pioneer Woman's recipe, just with different measurements.

I probably would have more than half a box left if I didn't find toddler remnants 3 times a day! I guess it's a good thing I have healthy food in my home, because I have been finding this more often lately. The other day I found 1/4 of a red pepper eaten when I took it out to use it in a recipe!

I think with the other half of the apples I am going to make some unsweetened applesauce and can it. Sorry friends but I am foregoing the apple butter this year. :(

Have you picked your own apples? What did you make with them?

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