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Everyone I talk to this fall seems to have the same reaction to the apple harvest: “Wow! There are so many apples!” We had an odd growing season this year – an extra wet early spring and an exceedingly dry summer. Many plants did not turn out well, but apples seemed to love the weather and have been producing an unprecedented amount! Since I cannot bake 24 hours a day, I have started canning the fruit.
Everyone seems to have their own version of canned apples; my family’s is a bit odd. Originally this recipe is for apple pie filling. When used as filling in pies, we as a family were never satisfied with the outcome. But when used in recipes and especially as a topping for fresh pancakes and waffles, these thickened canned apples are unbelievable.
This process could take most of your Saturday but enjoying these apples in your oatmeal or atop Christmas morning pancakes will make you forget all the work it took to make this delectable treat!
Ten pounds of apples may sound like a lot, but since apples have such a high percentage of water, they cook down quite a bit. The old adage is true – having many hands does make the work quick. Grandma, Mom, and I worked together and were able to have the apples cleaned and cut in under an hour!
- 10 lb firm apples
- 10 cups water
- 3 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 ¼ cups instant tapioca
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and clean the apples. My family does not use just one kind of apples but an assortment of all our orchard's varieties. Most importantly, you want the apples to be flavorful and firm, not mealy.
- Cclean the apples first, cut them into quarters (use a sharp knife but be careful), slice out the seeds and stems, and then cut off the peel. There are other ways of doing this; some people use a vegetable peeler but I find that a knife is the quickest.
- Have a few bowls of water with a teaspoon of salt in them to put your cut apples into. The salt will keep the apples from browning. Make sure to rinse well before cooking, though.
- Combine water, sugar, tapioca, and spices in a 12-quart heavy-bottomed kettle.
- When the apples are cleaned and cut, start to cook the liquid. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture becomes bubbly and thick. Boil two to three minutes (you do not want to see any of the tapioca granules) then add lemon juice and sliced apples. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute.
- Fill cleaned and sterilized quart jars leaving one-inch headspace at the top of the jar. Place ring and lid on and put jars into a boiling water bath for 25 minutes.