First things First
Before anyone gets any crazy ideas about me, let me begin by clarifying that this canning project was done in the late weeks of September, before Ellie was born. At this point I’m not sure how it works to squeeze peeling, coring, straining and boiling into a busy day of bottling, swaddling, changing and swinging.
Also, the canning tools have been reassigned to the never ending job of pulling bottle parts out of the sterilizing pot. And let me mention here that if you ever want to sterilize plastic baby bottle parts in a steamer on the stove, make sure there’s water in the pan beneath. Otherwise you may find that the parts just melt right to the pan. (Don’t ask how I know that.)
In late September, I used a small portion of our apple harvest to make and can apple butter. The two-fer mentioned in the title was an accidental byproduct of the butter. The apples cooked for a long time, and were ready to can, except that there was still too much liquid to make the butter really spreadable.
I scooped the hot apple butter right into a flour-sack towel, twisted it tight, and rich, golden, syrupy juice which tasted a lot like apple cider poured through into the bowl beneath. A little cinnamon and sugar later, and we had apple cider concentrate to can as well.
What to do:
I’d put a recipe down, but its so easy that it seems silly. Peel and core apples, put them in a pot on the stove with some water, cook over medium heat until the apples are soft. I had a vanilla bean on hand that I added while it cooked.
When the apples are soft and enough water has evaporated that you’re happy with the consistency, its apple sauce. Sweeten with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or sugar to taste, if you’d like.
Keep cooking it, adding a small amount of water if necessary to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When the mixture has turned deep brown color, the sugars have caramelized and you’ve got apple butter. Again, sweeten or season to taste.
If the butter is soft and and still too soupy, strain out the liquid and you’ve got apple cider concentrate, which you can either can or freeze in ice cube trays for single-serve, just-add-boiling-water cider storage.