Apples are one of the most universal of fruits and people have enjoyed their crisp, sweet flavor for millennia.
Folklore has it that people have eaten apples since the beginning of time, but it is easier to verify that apples were probably first grown in the Far East and the Orient. Apples and apple orchards were a Roman favorite. The Romans took seeds with them to England when they conquered it and from there, the fruit spread to where the English spread.
They have remained and proliferated here and you will find them everywhere — grocery stores, vending machines, backyard orchards, roadside stands and cafeterias. We eat them out of hand and in fresh salads. They also show up in a whole array of cooked dishes.
A recent column discussed ways to store fresh apples, but often people prefer to preserve them more permanently. Fresh apples in storage will last a few months, while bottled apples are safe and conveniently ready to use for much longer.
Home canners and enthusiastic cooks often need to pre-plan their apple projects so the bottles (or recipe) and apples come out even.
A bushel of apples usually weights between 42 and 48 pounds. One pound of apples is equal to four small apples, three medium apples or two large apples. One cup of grated apples equals two medium apples. One pound of apples yields 3 cups diced apples or 2 3/4 cups of pared and sliced. One bushel of apples will yield 18 to 20 quarts of apple slices.
The quantity of apples required for a cannerful of processed apples varies by the product. The amounts required are listed with the following Utah State University Tooele approved recipes.
One of the annoyances of working with cut up apples over a period of time is their insistence on turning brown. The brown will not make the apples harmful, but it does affect their appearance. A reaction with oxygen is the cause and any of several pre-treatments can resolve the issue.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) mixed with water keeps fruit from browning. Purchase it in a powdered or tablet form at the grocery or drug store. A teaspoonful equals 3,000 milligrams in a tablet form. You may find white flecks in your solution from the fillers in the tablets, but they are not harmful. Mix a teaspoon of powdered ascorbic acid (or six tablets, crushed) into 2 cups of water. Put the fruit in the solution for three to five minutes. Remove the fruit and drain it well. Add more ascorbic acid when two batches of fruits have been treated.
You may find ascorbic acid mixtures that contain ascorbic acid and sugar. They are easier to use, less concentrated and easier to find.
Fruit juices high in vitamin C also reduce browning but not as effectively as ascorbic acid. Consider orange, lemon, pineapple, grape and cranberry juice. They add color and flavor to the fruit.
Sodium bisulfate is effective to control enzymatic browning, but people with asthma may have an attack. Find it as a special order from a pharmacy.
Like other fruits, apples are bottled in syrup. The sugar in syrup is not essential for food preservation. It is used to help maintain the color, texture and flavor of the fruit. Choose the kind of syrup you use according to taste. For light syrup (20 percent), use 1 1/2 cups sugar to 5 3/4 cups water. For medium syrup (30 percent), use 2 1/4 cups sugar to 5 1/4 cups water. And for heavy syrup (40 percent), use 3 2/4 cups sugar to 5 cups water. Light syrup is low in calories and best for very sweet apples. Heavy syrup is ideal for tart apples and helps them hold their shape better.
Approximately 19 pounds of apples yields 7 quarts or an average of 12 1/4 pounds yields 9 pints. Wash, peel and core apples. To prevent discoloration, pre-treat with ascorbic acid. Raw pack canning yields poor quality product, therefore, instructions are for hot pack only. Place drained slices in a large saucepan and add a pint of water or light to medium syrup per 5 pounds of sliced apples. Boil five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Fill jars with hot slices and hot syrup or water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath canner. Process for 30 minutes at Tooele’s altitude of between 3,001 and 6,000 feet.
An average of 21 pounds of apples yields 7 quarts or an average of 13 1/2 pounds yields 9 pints. Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Slice into ascorbic acid solution to prevent discoloration if desired. Drain the slices and put into an 8 to 10 quart pot. Add 1/2 cup water, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Heat quickly until tender (five to 20 minutes). Press through a sieve or food mill, puree in a food processor or do neither for a chunky sauce. Add sugar as desired (optional). Add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of sauce, then taste and add more if desired. Re-heat the sauce to boiling until the mixture is uniformly boiling hot. Fill the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top. Adjust lids and process. Cinnamon or other spices can be added during the final five minutes of cooking time just before putting the sauce into the jars. Process for 30 minutes at Tooele’s altitude of between 3,001 and 6,000 feet.
8 lbs. apples
2 cups cider
2 cups vinegar
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground cloves
Wash, remove stems, quarter and core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from the steam for two minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. When a film of liquid does not separate around the edges of the butter, it is ready for canning. Fill hot into jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner. Process half pints or pints for 10 minutes or quarts for 15 minutes at altitudes between 1,000 and 6,000 feet.