In the grocery stores and farmers’ markets, apples abound and greet you tucked in just beyond the piles of pumpkins promising the cooler temperatures of autumn. If I could bottle autumn to enjoy year-round, I would. Since I can, I did preserve a little autumn flair this week. My canner has been regrettably in storage through more of the summer than I’d intended, but I made a valiant attempt to rectify that slip this week.
I poured through my canning books, decided on a few recipes, and purchased 40 pounds of local Gala apples. I’m quite pleased with the results.
When I read the title of this recipe, I may have thought, Take my money! Except, I found the recipe itself baffling for its lack of pectin and its call for six cups of sugar and maple syrup. Normally, I use Pomona’s Universal Pectin because I am a large fan of its ease of use and its reliability in making quality low-sugar jams. So I pinch-hit, called up the Pomona’s jamline (new dream job?), and modified recipes to make my own low-sugar apple-maple-jam magic. The jam may not be as sweet as intended, but it’s delicious with just the right hint of maple.
I routinely make applesauce whenever my grocery store has multiple pounds of apples available in the bargain bin, but I also like to keep a stock of canned applesauce available for eating and cooking throughout the year. I usually add a little sugar to the spiced applesauce, but I otherwise leave the applesauce unsweetened. Although the apples did not come from my own orchard (we’re a few years away from that yet), I like to think I know better what goes into my food when I make it myself. It sure tastes better too!
Apple butter is a labor of love. The apples cook and cook and cook, and the house smells sweeter and spicier than a scented candle. I started making apple butter several hours ago, and it still hasn’t cooked down sufficiently to “round up” on my spoon whenever I test it. Yet, it’s an autumn treat worthy of the time required for the butter to simmer while you work on other things around the house, like writing a blog post.
I saved time and a significant amount of wrist pain by purchasing an apple peeler/corer/slicer contraption. After cutting 40 pounds of apples, I can heartily recommend it.