Tuesday, October 5, 2010

around the homestead-apples

Today is apple day on the ol homestead  and don't tell the manthing, but I am  doing them all inside on the wood stove. It only made sense for me to do so since we had another very chilly night, it is only going to 60 with 20 mph winds today, and is supposed to go right back into the 30's tonight. Why waste all the wood just for cooking outside when it  could be used inside to warm the shack up and do my cooking too. 57 is just a little bit too cool to be comfortable in without being all bundled up in so many clothes that it makes it hard to wiggle and when I am cold, I am in pain . Tomorrow I will fire up the stove outside and water bath everything. Actual canning on the wood stove  in the shack is very difficult except in the dead of winter when it is frigid out and we have it raging hot.
 Once I got morning chores finished and got my fire going, I set about to peeling one bushel of the apples. This year, I am making applesauce, apple peel jelly/jam and going to try some vinegar  for a change.  If I should forget before next year, please remind me to purchase a new peeler/ corer thingmajig round about April, peeling with a granny knife sucks.

For the  apple sauce I use no recipe and no special equipment to make it. I find it easier in the long run  and much easier to clean up by keeping it simple and doing it the old fashioned way. I just peel, core, and cut the apples in to large chunks and throw them all in a large kettle.  I add a little bit of water in and throw a top on it and let them slow cook down using a potato masher to squish them up as they cook down. When they are to the consistency I want the sauce to be I taste it, add a touch of sugar if necessary, bottle it up and  process in a hot water bath  for 20 minutes.
 Last year, I made some apple brandy out of the  peels and cores. This year, I am going to make peel jam/jelly and when I  use the rest of the apples will make vinegar  from those peelings.  I absolutely love fruits and veggies where I can use every last bit of them for something and nothing goes to waste.
Apple peel jelly

Place apple peels and cores, lightly packed, into large pot with 5 cups of water. If you have loads of peels like me, double this recipe. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, put the lid on the pot, and allow to stand overnight. Strain liquid and measure 5 cups. If you want bits of fruit so that it is more like a jam use a larger holes strainer, be advised the jam will be cloudier in color when finished. Compost the peelings and cores then return  the liquid to the pot. Gradually dissolve 1 box of pectin into the liquid and bring to a full rolling boil, over high heat. Add 7 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve. Return to boiling and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat, skim foam if necessary, and pour into hot 1/2 pint jelly jars. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes Or 20  minutes for  pints.

The recipe I am going to use for making the vinegar is from  here. Since I have never made vinegar from scratch , I cannot  say if it is a good recipe or not but in a few months  we shall see how  it worked, or not !


  1. If you are cooking today and water bathing tomorrow, what do you do with the stuff in between. Fridge, counter?

  2. The peelings will sit on the counter overnight and the sauce will go in the fridge or out on the closed porch since it is going to be so chilly

  3. I found your blog today and am jumping about randomly reading all the bits! I might have missed the update, but I was wondering how the vinegar ended up?