Well, I finally started using all those apples I picked last week with my toddler. (20 lbs worth which were still sitting on my kitchen counter in the bag I brought them home in.)
I started with the easy part: picking out some apples to put in the refrigerator as cool, healthy snacks.
Then it was on to cooking and canning. I learned how to can last year (tomatoes and tomato sauce) and tried it again early in the summer (strawberry syrup and blueberry butter), so I decided to keep learning.
First up: apple butter. I followed a recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook (also online: Apple Butter Recipe, although I didn't use allspice or cloves in mine).
It is smooth and sweet and oh-so-yummy. One recipe gave me seven small jars plus a little leftover to use now.
While the apple butter went through it's final processing in the water bath (look at me using canning terminology!), I got to work on Apple Pear Chutney. (Some of those 20 lbs of apples were actually pears which I picked at the same time.)
Of course, projects in any kind of work can be messy. (Progress takes space, people!) About this time, my kitchen looked something like this...
There wasn't an empty countertop in sight.
Anyhow, back to the Apple Pear Chutney. This recipe came from a cookbook I bought from the author herself during her tomato canning class last summer. The book is called Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan and it is awesome. (She also has a blog by the same name.)
What I like most about Marisa's book is that each recipe tells you when to start boiling your jars for sanitizing, how many jars and of what size you will need, and how long to boil them again after filling them (for sealing).
As a beginner canner, this is extremely valuable. It also means I don't have to keep flipping to find that information elsewhere. Plus, the book itself is simply beautiful. I highly recommend it if you want to get into canning.
About 20 minutes of chopping various ingredients, and two hours of stovetop cooking (during which I only had to stir every so often), the chutney was finished.
And yes, it's delicious. I'm thinking it will work as a snack on crackers or bread and will also likely make a good topping for chicken breasts.
That leaves me with about a third of the apples (and some pears) still to go. I plan on making apple crisp. (Apple pear crisp? Mmm, yes, I think so.)
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way for mentioning the books in this post. These are books I own and use. I have provided affiliate links to those books, so if you happen to purchase them from that link, Amazon may throw a few cents my way which will either go into maintenance costs for this blog or my children's college funds. :)