I have only in the last few years embraced canning. I had many memories of my mother and grandmother spending summers making jar after jar of delicious treats, but I just never felt the need to try it myself. Not sure what happened but I got the urge and haven't stopped since!
I made some big batches this time, family and friends always get yummy things from my pantry. However these recipes scale down easily.
These recipes are 2 of my favorites - old fashioned, slow cooked apple butter. It turns the most beautiful deep brown color with a rich apple flavor. And orange marmalade, now this is a favorite of mine! It's sweet, bitter, tart, delicious...I could go on and on about this stuff!!! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.
Step 1: Apple Butter Ingredients
- 15 lbs of Peeled, Cored, and Coarsely Chopped Apples
- 3 Tbsp of Cinnamon
- 2-1/2 Cups of White Granulated Sugar
- 2-1/2 Cups of Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp of Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 Tsp of Salt
- 3/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup of Apple Juice or Cyder
Yields 21, 1/2 pint jars
Step 2: Peel and Chop Apples
Peel and chop the apples. An awful job I know, but just put on some tunes, it will be done before you know it!
Step 3: Mix Everything Together
Add the sugar and spices and stir well to coat the apple pieces. Pour the wet ingredients and give it another good stir. Your work is almost done! Put mixture in the slow cooker on low and walk away. It really does cook itself!
Step 4: Cook Apples for 24 Hours - or More
The apples just cook away in a slow cooker for at least 24 hours. REMEMBER - you can't overcook apple butter, but you can burn it. Stir occasionally and watch a little closer in the last few hours. I use an immersion blender to break up the last few big chunks. The goal is to cook out all the water, this takes time. To check, drop a spoonful on a plate and let sit for a few minutes. If there is a water ring around the apple butter it needs to cook longer.
Step 5: Finishing the Apple Butter
When there is no water ring when testing the apple butter is done. At this point you can can in a waterbath for long term storage or just place sealed containers in the refrigerator.
Step 6: Orange Marmalade Ingredients
- 8 Lg Navel Oranges
- 2 Lemons
- 8 Cups of White Granulated Sugar
- 12 Cups of Water
- A Pinch of Salt
Yields 14, 1/2 pint jars
Step 7: Slice Oranges and Lemons
Thinly slice the oranges and lemons - paper thin. If you have a mandolin slicer feel free to pull that baby out. I am terrified of those things so I just use my trusty chefs knife, keeping it super sharp. Remember that this step will identify the location of every snagged cuticle or paper cut that you have - that was my public service announcement!
Step 8: Bring to a Boil Then Let Sit Overnight
Place the sliced oranges and lemons along with their juices into a large stainless steel pot. Add the sugar and the 12 cups of water.
Bring this to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cover and let sit overnight while the apple butter is cooking!!
Get ready, you will wake up hungry - the whole house will smell delicious! Another public service announcement!
Step 9: Finishing the Orange Marmalade
The next day bring the mixture back to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours. Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often. Skim off any foam that forms on the top. Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
I really do recommend using a thermometer when making things like this. I know that my grandmother could just look at something and know it was ready, but I'm not that good...YET!
The same thing goes for this as the apple butter. Water bath preserve or refrigerator storage, you won't regret this one.
Step 10: Enjoy!
I like to add a spoon of Apple Butter to oatmeal and who doesn't love the taste of spicy apples with pork?
I like to add a spoonful of Orange Marmalade to a baked sweet potato or my morning yogurt - sweet, bitter, tart, delicious!!