Friday, September 23, 2011

Apples in Cinnamon Syrup

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  If that saying is true, I should be very healthy this year.  I have definitely been eating my fair share of apples recently.  As mentioned in previous posts, we eat a lot of apples from the late summer through the winter.  We have already been to the mountains twice to get apples, purchasing Honey Crisps, Jonagolds, Red Romes, and some Fujis, and we are planning another trip soon for Pink Ladies and Arkansas Blacks.  I love apples!

A few of the apples getting ready to be prepped-  Don't you love the big bag of popcorn in the background?
Since we have so many around, I have also been canning with them when I have time.  I like to have apples around in some form for pies, crisps, sauces, and just for eating.  Here is a really great way to can apples that is fairly simple and quick in relation to other canning projects but has a pay-off better than most since the apples are so versatile.  You can enjoy these apples right out of the jar, over yogurt or ice cream, in desserts or oatmeal, or with savory dishes.  The possibilities are endless.  

Apples in Cinnamon Syrup just before processing
It begins with good cooking apples which you peel, core, slice, and keep fresh in a bowl of cool water doctored up with a little Fruit Fresh or lemon juice.   I used Jonagold and Honey Crisp , but you could use any apple that holds its shape nicely when heated.  I made five quarts which used about 13 pounds of apples.  You need approximately 2 1/2- 2 3/4 pounds of apples per quart jar.  You can make as many quarts as you need, just increase the syrup quantity as needed.

While you are prepping your apples, throw together your syrup mixture and allow it to come to a boil to melt the sugar.  I use an very light syrup so that my apples are more versatile (and healthier), but you can use a light or medium syrup if you prefer.  The syrup quantity for the method I used is enough to make up to 7 quarts.  You can save any you have left for a few days or use it to sweeten tea and other beverages. 

Apples in Cinnamon Syrup hiding behind Chinese Plum Sauce and Spiced Apples.  The spiced apples came from a recipe posted on Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen.  I hope to post my pictures of  those along with some recipes soon.
When canning apple slices, it is best to use the hot pack method.  It produces a better textured product and also prevents the fruit from floating as much in the jar.  You just want to be sure not to overcook the apples before packing the jars.  I bring them to a simmer and turn the heat off after about 2 minutes.  Any longer and you could end up with mushy apples which is not nearly as appealing as apples that still look and taste like apples and not applesauce. 

Once the apples are heated, pack them into jars.  You want to pack them tightly but leave room for them to expand a little in the jar.  Packing too tight can lead to seepage of liquid from the jar.  Add a cinnamon stick to each jar, and fill the jars with the hot syrup. 

These jars are processed 20 minutes.  You can also use pint jars which are processed for the same amount of time. 

I must say that the cinnamon stick adds great flavor and looks very sophisticated in the jar, but it is not necessary, so you can leave it out if you wish.  You could also try adding other whole spices such as star anise or a couple of cloves, just be careful because some spices (or too much spice) could overpower the apples.   

This method is only slightly adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation site.  You can find their instructions for the apples here, and their instructions for the syrup (including how to change it to light or medium) here

Apples in Cinnamon Syrup 
makes approximately 5 quarts but can be increased/decreased as needed

Apples:
13 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced
cool water
Fruit Fresh or lemon juice

Syrup:
10 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 cinnamon sticks (each approximately 3 inches long)

Prepare your jars, lids, and rings as well as your boiling water canner.

As you prep the apples, keep them from discoloring by placing them in a bowl of cool water with a couple teaspoons of Fruit fresh or lemon juice.  While prepping the apples, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil in a large pot.  Drain the apples and place them in the boiling syrup and simmer gently about 2 minutes until the apples are heated.  Turn the heat off while you pack the jars. 

Carefully pack the apples into quart (or pint) jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Make sure to pack them fairly tight while still allowing room for expansion.  Add one cinnamon stick, if using, into each jar, and ladle hot syrup over the top, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Use a bubble remover or chopstick to remove as many air bubbles as possible from the jars.  Adjust the headspace and wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp cloth to remove any syrup.  Top each jar with a sterilized lid and ring and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.  Allow jars to sit in canner 5 minutes after processing time is complete.  Remove jars to a towel to rest 24 hours.  Check seals, wipe jars, and store for up to a year. 







 

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