Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Life Hands You Crabapples...

...make jelly!
The more I preserve at home, the more it pains me to see waste. So last week my friend, J, dropped off a big bag of crabapples on my porch while I was at work.
Does that happen to you? You just come home to bags of free produce on your porch. No? I'm happy to say that it's a thing that happens to me. Really!

So I prepped  all those little apples. Cutting off the blossom end and any bad spots, removing the stem and cutting them in half.

Whew! That took about and hour and a half.

I placed all those in a pot with enough water so they wouldn't stick, put on the lid and turned it on medium high. After about 20-30 minutes it looked like this.....

That's when I realized I was out of jelly jars. They've been hard to come by this year and now that it's mid-November they're almost impossible to find. The great ladies at Bierce Hardware in Tallmadge found me some 4oz jars and some 12oz jars and gave me the sale price! I found a dozen 8oz jars at Acme but paid way more that I wanted to.

So then I drained the cooked mixture with a double layer of cheesecloth and all my strainers and colanders over bowls for about 8 hours. I ended up with about 4 1/2 cups of super tart crabapple juice. The recipe I used says that for every cup of juice - add 3/4 cup of sugar. So I added 3 cups of sugar, along with 2 cinnamon sticks and a tablespoon of whole clove. Brought it to a low boil, skimmed off the weird white foam that forms on top and cooked until it reached 210F on my candy thermometer. Removed the spices and poured into prepared jars. Processed them in the hot water bath for about 10 minutes.

They're beautiful!!!!

Don't you agree? Fruit, water, sugar and spices. No artificial colors, no preservatives, no added pectin. Beautiful and so simple.
I hope that changes the way you look at all the natural foods around you. More foraging will happen in 2014 for me. I can't wait!
One of my best friend's birthday celebration is tonight. Eating, drinking and dancing will happen. Happy weekend to you all!