apple sauce

Apple Cider Vinegar Made from Scraps of Home Made Apple Sauce.

Apple sauce, apple butter, apple jelly and apple cider vinegar are things I try to make for my family every fall. I try very hard to forage my apples to use in these recipes. I hate to see one of my friends let a tree full of healthy organic apples go to waste. So every summer I start looking around at who has apples that they do not use and try to remember to ask them if I can have them. This summer I was a little unsure of where I was going to get my apples. We moved and I did know to many people who had apple trees in our new area. I remembered a huge apple tree at my favorite public library. Why not ask the librarian of the Lewis Bennett Library  what they were going to do with some of the apples…. it couldn’t hurt to ask right?

So after asking the  head Librarian Karen about the apples, she said no one had asked for the apples and most of the time the apples just fell and made a huge mess on the library side-walk. She let me have as many of the apples as I wanted. The tree is well over 100 years old and they do nothing to maintain the tree so they are again chemical free, of unknown species and cost me nothing, a perfect fit for my foraging personality.

front of Louis Bennett Library

front of Louis Bennett Library the tree is in the right of this photo three stories tall and full of apples

So after a couple of hours with my apple picker in the yard of this historical mansion I had filled my buckets with about 70 pounds of a soft yellow-green apples.

one 18 gallon tub and one 8 gallon wash tub full of apples about 70 pounds

one 18 gallon tub and one 8 gallon wash tub full of apples about 70 pounds

Most people call these deer apples and never plan to use them at home but let the deer enjoy them.Today I was able to make 6 quarts of apple sauce from 8 pounds of these little apples.( I have a DIY post about how to make  Home Made Apple Sauce here) They made a very nice sweet apple sauce so I am guessing they are a golden delicious type of apple developed in Clay County West Virginia around the time the house was built.

Quarts of home made cinnamon apple sauce

Quarts of home-made cinnamon apple sauce

collecting apple peals into bowl for vinegar making

collecting apple peals into bowl for vinegar making

To make Apple Cider Vinegar I took the peals and cores from these apples and split them between two gallon containers. I left enough room at the top to let water stand over the top of the cores and peals. The apples will begin to ferment under the water’s surface but Some mold may grow if a peal is sticking up to high.

Apple peals and cores in plastic gallon jars.

Apple peals and cores in plastic gallon jars.

Next I added 2 and 1/2 quarts of warm water that I had added 2 1/2 heaping tables spoons of white sugar to each jar. Making a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to water. The sugar helps feed the Bactria to get a good start to the fermentation. It also adds a sweetness to the vinegar. I use most of my vinegar for cooking so I want a strong apple flavor without much sweetness. If I was drinking this everyday I would add more sugar to make to flavor more drinkable. One recipe I read had 1/2 cup of sugar per gallon. It is not necessary to use this much sugar, apples ferment quickly! Apples have a lot of  natural sugars and yeasts that ferment so well it is hard to stop raw apple juice from turning to wine and vinegar in a matter of days with out a chemical to stop the fermentation. Believe me no sugar is really needed to ferment apples, we have had a few drunk cows on the farm from eating rotten apples in the pasture,what a funny sight !

Quart jar and sugar bowel

Quart jar and sugar bowel

I added a weight to apple scraps to hold them under the water

I added a weight to apple scraps to hold them under the water

Here I am trying to keep the apples under the water surface with a small bowel to prevent mold or scum from growing around the top of the jar. I then cover the jars with cloth to prevent bugs or dust from getting into the jars. I store my jars in our laundry room. Where the temp in the summer is more constant much like a cellar. It never freezes but is never as hot as the house on a hot summer day. The best fermentation happens between 60 and 80 degrees F.

Two gallons of apple peals and cores ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple peals and cores ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple scraps on shelf ready to ferment

Two gallons of apple scraps on shelf ready to ferment

Now I wait two weeks to strain out the apple cores and peels. The fermentation will actually take several weeks and the smell of vinegar will increase as the amount of sugar decreases. At about 4 weeks the sugar should be eaten up by the bacteria that converts the sugar to alcohol than into vinegar. At this time you can filter the vinegar to make it look clear or rack it just like wine. I will filter mine with cheese cloth just to remove the large pieces of apple and return the vinegar back to the shelf for two more weeks to make sure that all the fermentation is finished at 6 weeks. If by chance you notice that the apple cider vinegar has a slimy pad floating in it (smile really big)… you have grown a “Mother” or “Scoby” that should be removed and  stored to make the next batch of ACV ( apple cider vinegar) and reduce the time for fermentation to about 4 weeks on another batch.

Apple Cider Vinegar MOTHER

Apple Cider Vinegar MOTHER

The raw ACV can at this point be bottled and kept in the refrigerator and it will be good up to 1 year. My family goes through about 1 gallon in a year so this is the amount I try to make. If you want to keep it on the shelf for easy storage then the you need to cook and bottle the ACV. The cooking process does two things. It will kill the good Bactria growing in the ACV ( pasteurizing the ACV)  but will also stabilizes it so that you can store it almost indefinitely. ACV is processed like any other canned food with sterile bottles or jars and correct processing times.

So if you are a fan of raw apple cider vinegar you can make this for pennies. I think the most expensive part would be to get containers. Most families do not use as much vinegar as we do so with just an old spaghetti sauce jar ( 1 quart size) and 3 apples you could make enough ACV for at least 6 months. It is just another way to make some thing from free healthy foraged food.

So when I finally get the 18 quarts of apple sauce finished, the 8 pints of apple butter, the 10 jelly pints of apple jelly, and the gallon of apple cider vinegar finished in 6 weeks, I will feel like I stocked my pantry well from these free ugly old deer apples that no one wanted! Here at links to my post on Slow Cooker Apple Butter and Apple Jelly they are also made with free apples and made much like this with a two for one process.

Categories: apple butter, apple cider vinger, apple sauce, Apples, fermentation, Foraging, Lewis Bennett Library, organic food | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Apple Cider Jelly and Apple Butter from One Batch of Apples

aplle cider jelly my best jelly so far

half pints of apple jelly

  This summer I was so fortunate to receive a gift of about 60 pounds of apples from a neighbors tree. I made several things from the free organic apples, pies, apple sauce,  jelly and apple butter. The nice thing was that with the raw apples I could make both apple jelly and apple butter out of the same apples. A two for one deal. I was happy when I realised that all I needed was apple pulp for the apple butter and just the juice for the jelly and they could be worked back to back. If I could just get a whole day to do it all.

fresh picked apples

fresh picked apples

  I though about what I needed to do to combine the recipes for both the apple jelly and apple butter. I needed to make a juice or cider then  I could make apple butter as soon as I was able to get the apple pulp through the food mill and into the slow cookers. I did use two slow cookers for this batch  of apple butter each holding about 2 1/2 quarts of apple pulp.

  The process is a simple and easy one. I cut up unpeeled small apples into quarters. The ones I used for the apple jelly/butter  were smaller than the ones for apple sauce and pies. I placed the apples on the stove with about a 3/4 full  pot full of water (about 4 quarts of water). Cooking the apples down to a sauce took about 20 minutes. This time I wanted the skins and peals still on as I cooked the apples down. The natural pectin in the apple skins would help the jelly set up later in the process.

small quartered apples in stock pot with water

small quartered apples in stock pot with water

   Once it appears that the apples had cooked down I strained the chunky sauce through two sheets of cheese cloth in a strainer to remove the majority of the juice. Once cooled, I pressed the juice out into a bowl.

Apple pulp, sauce in strainer with cheese cloth

Apple pulp, in strainer with cheese cloth

Pressing apple sauce to get remaining juice

Pressing apple sauce to get remaining juice

  I poured the juice into half-gallon jars to let the juice separate a little more so the jelly would be clear from using only a juice with no pulp. I let it rest over night to make the jelly in the morning. The remaining thick  pulp is slowly processed through the Foodmill when cool.

unfiltered apple juice

unfiltered apple juice

  Then I run the remaining plup through the food mill to remove the peals, seeds and lumps.

food mill over pot ready for apples

food mill over pot ready for apples

without the apple peals the sauce should look like this

very thick apple sauce ready to turn to apple butter

very thick apple sauce ready to turn to apple butter

   I then moved the thick sauce to two slow cookers added the sugar and some spices and  covered  the mixture and let cook on low for around 18 hours stirring every 4 or 5 hours.Near the end of the 12th hour I add more spices and sugar to gain a sweeter,stronger flavor. Taste testing and thickness testing is good at about 12 hours.

two slow cookers 1/2 full of apple butter ingredants

two slow cookers 1/2 full of apple butter ingredients

   While the apple butter cooked all night and some of the next morning, I had time to clarify the apple juice. I slowly poured the juice off the top of the jars and then restrained the pulp at the bottom with 4 sheets of cheese cloth. This really cleans the juice if done slowly to remove as much of the pulp as possible. I washed out my cheese cloth between jars of juice to clear away any clogging apple bits.When I was finish straining I poured the clear juice into a stock pot to make the jelly. Measuring out 5 cups of juice at a time.

1 gallon fresh apple juice on stove ready to turn to jelly

1 gallon fresh apple juice on stove ready to turn to jelly

    As with any jelly, jam or butter you need clean sterile jars, lids and rings. I was boiling them about the same time I was pouring the juice through the cheese cloth that way they were  freshly sterile and warm when the jelly was ready to ladle into the jars.

     The idea for this jelly came from my childhood. My aunt often invited my mother, brother and I over for at least one holiday dinner every year. Often it was Easter dinner and as I was so little she always offered me apple cider  to drink instead of the wine that the adults drank during Easter. I loved the warm drink , she would serve her cider in a white teacup with a slice of orange in the bottom and a Cinnamon stick tipping out the top of the cup. I drank more than my fair share of the cider and wanted to make something that tasted like what I remembered as a kid and this is what I came up with.

Following the basic instructions for an apple jelly recipe in the Sure Jell box you will need.

5 cups apple juice

2 table spoons strained orange juice or lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

7 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1 pack liquid Pectin

1. measure correct amount of juice into sauce pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine to reduce foaming if desired.

2. stir sugar into fruit juice bring mixture to a full rolling boil( a boil that does not go down when stirred)  over high heat.

3. Add liquid pectin quickly. Return to full boil and boil for one minute exactly stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle  into prepared jars. leaving 1/8 inch head space. skimming tops of jars with wooden spoon to remove foam.

4. Wipe jars, add lids and rings place in a boiling water bath canner, adding enough water to cover jars with one to two inches of water. Bring to a gentil boil and process for five minutes. Remove to cool on clean towels and listen for the lids to pop and seal as cooling. Some jelly takes time to set up.. apple is not usually one of these as the natural pectin and the Sure Jell make this a firm fast setting jelly with a gold color and tiny spices mixed though out.

Apple jelly in jars

Apple jelly in jars

 Then as the jelly cooled I took time to look over the apple butter again. The  teaspoon test is the best way to see if you apple butter is thick enough to put in the jars. When you think the color and thickness is getting where you have reduced the apple sauce mixture about one inch inside the crock pot take a teaspoon and scoop out a small amount of the apple butter and turn the spoon side ways and see how much juice seeps out of the sauce. Ideally their will be almost no juice leaking out of the apple butter.It should be a dark almost chestnut-brown color and very thick much to thick for apple sauce. I adjust the spices and sugar about the time the juice is about gone  to make sure the flavors have time to blend together.Usually a couple of hours before I stop simmering the apple butter.

finished slow cooker apple butter

finished slow cooker apple butter

Slow Cooker Apple Butter made from Apple Sauce.

1. 4 quarts apple sauce in a 5 quart slow cooker or 2 slow cookers with apples split between them.

2. 4 cups sugar split, three cups at beginning of cooking the other added if needed at the end of cooking.

3. 1 tablespoon cinnamon

4. 1/4  teaspoon cloves

5. 1  teaspoon allspice

Mix together and cook on low for about 16 to 18 hours if using one slow cooker, about 9 in two slow cookers. Ladle into clean sterile jars leveling about 1/8 inch head space. Wipe jar lip and cover with lids and rings. Cover jars with two inches of water and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Remove jars to cool and check seals and enjoy.

finished jars of apple butter 2013

finished jars of apple butter 2013

  This project turned into one of the best ways I can think of to use up a large buckets of smaller apples. With a 8 quart stock pot full of cut apples I ended up with about 9 half pints of cider jelly and about 5 pints of apple butter. I repeated this process twice and had enough jelly and apple butter to give out as holiday gifts this year and still have a few for our family until the next crop of apples appears. 

  Thanks to my lovely Aunt Marjorie Snyder and her love of making jams, jellies and serving me the best apple cider ever!

Categories: apple butter, apple cider jelly, apple sauce, cooking, Jelly, organic foods, Preserving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Canning home made apple sauce

   A couple of friend commented to me that they wished they knew how to make home-made apple sauce. I am currently in the process of making my second batch( 6 quarts)as we speak.I thought this post might be useful to learn a bit more about the process before fall weather finishes ripening all the apples.

finished apple sauce 2013

finished apple sauce 2013

     I love to home preserve  apple sauce.It is a simple easy way to use up extra apples and make something naturally good for you. I am actually over run with apples this year, friends are begging me to pick their apples as the trees are in danger of damage from the heavy load. I use the apples from several trees in our friends and families yards so they are free and of unknown verity. The best apple for sauce if you are buying or growing a tree for that purpose is the Golden Delicious. I Think that I am actually using a Macintosh apples this year and they seem to cook down fine also.

  Of course the first step is to collect or buy apples. I pick mine and use about  8 pounds of apples for one full batch (6 quart jars) of sauce. In this case I had a 5 gallon bucket full of apples so I used about 3/4 of a bucket to get what I needed.

60 pounds of free apples

60 pounds of free apples

 I had some wonderful helpers this year and we had a ball picking the apples.

the boys apple picking Christopher and Caden

the boys apple picking Christopher and Caden

   Once you have the fruit,you will need canning jars pints or quarts and rings and lids. These items are available at almost at any grocery store or Wal-mart. It is your choice if you want wide mouth jars or regular. In most cases it is normal to use the smaller mouth jars and lids and rings. Wide mouth jars are great for pickles or food that you would process whole like tomatoes or large slices like pears.  In the above photo of the finished apple sauce I have used both Pint and Quart jars and processed them together with out any problems. Wash jars in hot soapy water,checking jars to make sure they are free from any chips or cracks. Either of the stated problems may cause the jar to break or not seal correctly and waste your time and ingredients.

   The next few items a person needs are staples in most kitchens, with exception of a jar lifter and food mill and/or ricer and an apple peeling tool. To make 6  quarts of sauce you need to use an 8 quart stock pot stainless steel is ok but most home canning families prefer enamel. It is less reactive with high acid foods like tomatoes and keeps food the proper color. A food funnel, wood spoons, a ladle and a couple of rags and towels. The jar lifter is cheap and makes moving hot jars from a very hot canner to cooling area easier. The food mill I use is a life saver with making any smooth sauce. I use mine for tomato juice, apple sauce, apple butter and tomato sauce. I think the average cost for one today is around 40 dollars.

foodmill over stock pot

foodmill over stock pot

apple peeler, corer and slicer

apple peeling tool, this one also slices and cores the apple

    I did purchase the apple peeling tool a couple of years ago after trying to peel and core about 30 lbs of apples with out it. It is worth investing in one if you hope to make more than 6 quarts of apple sauce. The tool peels, cuts and cores the apples all at the same time so it is a real-time saver and does have replaceable parts in case the blades get dull or broken.

    The basic receipt that I fallow is this:

6 quarts of peeled sliced cored apples.

2 and 1/2 quarts water

4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

 makes about 6 quarts apple sauce

Always sterilise your jars, lids and rings in a boiling water bath for 6 to 10 minutes before starting applesauce.

  The frist step is wash, peel, core and slice the apples. I stack the apples to the top of my stock  pot even if some of the apples have some peel still remaining. The food mill will remove any missed skins and seeds later. Add the water and put one stove over Med heat. The hallow apples will cook down into my pot about 4 inches and with the water reach about the 6 to 7 quart area when done.

The Trick to apple sauce is to never ever cook anything on high heat.

apples reduced to ruff sauce

apples reduced to rough sauce

apples on stove with water

apples on stove with water

                                                        Once the water begins to simmer allow the apples to cook at least 20 minuets to reduce the apples into sauce.  Sir frequently to help the apples break down and keep them from scorching. As you can see in the above photo they have reduced and some skins are floating in the sauce. The next step removes any remaining skins or lumps from the apples sauce.

  Place a kettle or stock pot in sink and top it with a foodmill. Pour hot lumpy sauce into mill and turn handle several times and then reverse the motion until the sauce is through the mill and the dry-looking peels are all that remain. Scrape out old peals and add more lumpy apples and repeat until all the sauce is passed through mill.

getting ready to put hot apple sauce in foodmill

getting ready to put hot apple sauce in foodmill

    Return sauce to stove and add sugar, cinnamon, cloves and heat over med low heat until sugar melts and a slow bubbles form. Taste your apple sauce and add more sugar or spices as needed, raise temp to med high and cook until a slow boil occurs. DO NOT STOP STIRRING  SAUCE!!! it may scorch at this point. In my case I look for large hard bubbles that splash sauce around the pot. You can use a candy thermometer to make sure the sauce reaches 212 degrees.

bloiling lids and rings

boiling lids and rings

  I always sterilise my rings and lids separately from the jars. I like to leave the lids on the stove in the hot water while I make the sauce and put the jars on the counter or table  ready to fill before I make the sauce. When the sauce has cooked and is boiling hot you are ready to fill the jars and put on the rings and seals.

sauces ready for jars

sauce ready for jars

 As you can see I place the jars on several towels and drain lids and rings just before use. Next ladle sauce into jars using a jar funnel to keep as much sauce off the lip of jar as possible and to prevent burning your hands. The apple sauce is very hot and is sticky and will blister skin in seconds. I wear rubber gloves to fill jars to prevent burns as much as possible. When all jars are full I clean the rim of each jar with a dry rag and place a lid on top and place a ring on tight enough to keep lid in place but too tight.

cleaning jar lip

cleaning jar lip

  Then place jars in a boiling water bath for twenty minutes add time if you live above 1000 feet in altitude. If I am processing pints, my stock pot works well, so I wash it and return 6 pints back into the pot cover with hot water and boil the jars 20 more minutes. If I am making quarts I boil water in my pressure canner and use it to process my jars. Next, Remove jars with a jar lifter and place some where it is safe for hot jars to cool away from drafts. I put them back on the towels I used to full them on and wait to hear the sound of the lids popping closed. Some jars may actually seal and pop before they reach the table, others seal as they cool.  After about an hour I check to see if all the jars have sealed by touching the top of the lid and pushing down. If the lid pops when I touch it, the jar did not seal and must either be recooked or eaten fresh to prevent food poisoning or mold or both.

   If you are lucky like I was every jar sealed and is cooling. I usually wipe the jars down one more time and on the lid with a Sharpe marker put the name and date on each jar. This way the oldest gets eaten first and food rotation is easy.

You now have 6 quarts of home-made apple sauce with no artificial flavors, colors, and no preservatives,congratulations.

finished apple sauce 2013

finished apple sauce 2013

Categories: apple sauce, canning, cooking, organic food, Preserving | Tags: , | 16 Comments

The Best Egg Free Cake Ever….Grandma Powers Apple Sauce Cake

   With every passing holiday my family asks me to make the same cake, Apples Sauce Cake. Grandma Powers  received this receipt back in the 70’s from a family friend. Over the years the cakes recipe is one of the few things that passes from generation to generation in our family. The cake will easily feed about 10 in normal slices but when my son and husband get together it disappears in chunks. I recently made the cake for my sons 22 birthday and took it with us to Kentucky. The cake got stored for a couple of days in a hotel refrigerator during our stay and remained  moist and flavorful. This is one of the few cakes that I have ever made from scratch that does not us eggs or oil,so for those with allergies this is a nice desert that is egg free.

Cooling apple sauce cake

Cooling apple sauce cake

The frist thing that you may notice about this cake is that it is very large, it fills an angel food cake pan almost to the top, so keep this in mind. It also fits nicely into two buttered loaf pans. I make this size in the winter and give the other cake away as a gift.

Set oven to 350 degrees and butter what ever pan you are going to use for the cake.

Apple Sauce Cake

3 cups sugar

5 cups flour

2 sticks butter at room temperature for easy melting

24 oz. of cinnamon apple sauce… 1 quart home make sauce is equal to 24 oz.

3 teaspoons fresh baking soda ( added to hot apple sauce)

1 teaspoon all spice, cloves, nutmeg

1 tablespoon cinnamon

12 oz or two cups raisins

1 cup nuts … we use pecans

Mix together flour, sugar, spices, placing butter on top of  other ingredients . This will help the hot apple sauce melt the butter into the cake batter.

room temp butter on top of cake mix

room temp butter on top of cake mix

    In a small sauce pan put 24 oz of apple sauce, heat until sauce begins to bubble at a low simmer, at this point  turn off heat and add all three teaspoons of  backing soda and mix untill foamy.  Pour hot sauce over dry mix and butter and beat until well mixed.

foaming apple sauce

foaming apple sauce

Hot apple sauce with Baking Soda added

Hot apple sauce with Baking Soda added

                      Add nuts and raisins  at this point and mix well again. Pour batter into pan that is on top of a cookie sheet to prevent any spill, as angel food cake pans are two-part pans and sometimes leak batter.

apple sauce cake in pan

apple sauce cake in pan

Be prepared for the cake to take at least two hours to cook and maybe a few more minutes. The first hours bake the cake at 350 degrees and the second hour lowered the temperature to 250 degrees. Always test this cake with a knife or skewer, the outside will appear done while the inside will be raw. I have never seen this cake burn on the outside as the inside continues to cook the crust just gets a deeper dark brown. Cool for a couple of hours with outside ring removed and serve.

http://katherinescorner.com/sharing in Kathrinescorner.coms blog hop every thursday

Categories: apple sauce, cakes and family deserts, Kentucky | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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