Home canning, drying, and freezing apples are excellent ways to preserve the bountiful harvest of many varieties of apples.
Ever since Adam and Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit, apples have played a role in the history of mankind. Ancient Greeks believed that the destruction of Troy was brought about over a quarrel their gods had over a golden apple. Many cultures throughout the world have philosophers, poets and artists who have championed the beauty of the blossoms and fruit of the apple tree.
When John Endecott, one of the first governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, brought the first seedlings to America in 1629 and John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed), an early pioneer, spent his life planting orchards and scattering seeds across the Ohio Valley, apples quickly become the favorite fruit throughout the American countryside.
Apples are, perhaps, the most popular and versatile of all fruits, lending themselves to an extensive variety of home preservation techniques. Rich in Vitamins A & C and minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium, apples supply valuable essentials to good health.
Every attempt has been made to suggest specific varieties for each technique, but, with over 10,000 known varieties, and counting, the best information will come from your local farmers' markets, orchards, agriculture extension station, or university cooperative.
3 medium apples = 1 pound (500 g) of apples = 3 cups peeled and sliced (750 mL)
30-40 medium sized apples will make 8 pints of applesauce
This is only a rough estimate. Many apples, even within the same variety, vary greatly in size!
The most common ways that apples are canned are for apple pie filling and for applesauce, which makes an excellent baby food and sauce for pork dishes. Apple jelly is canned from cooking the apples down over medium heat and placing the pulp in a strainer...either a colander lined with several damp layers of cheese cloth set over a bowl or a jelly bag which can be purchased where canning supplies are sold, which is suspended over a bowl to catch the juice as it drips from the bag. I usually do not make apple jelly, as much of the apple is actually thrown away after the juices have been extracted through the cloth. For the purpose of our demonstration, we will can applesauce.
A. Gather all of your supplies and read through the recipe and the basic canning instructions to familiarize yourself with the process. These supplies will include:
1.) A large enamel or stainless steel pot for the boiling water bath canning processing with a lid.
2.) A rack for the jars.
3.) Jar lifter: special tongs designed to lift hot jars out of the boiling water bath.
4.) Jars: The size will be suggested in the specific recipes.
5.) Lids and screw bands,washed and inspected to be sure that the special seal strips are intact and free from defects.
6.) A couple of long handled wooden spoons, the longer the handles, the better, as the apples will be thick and very hot when cooking.
7.) A small pan to heat the jar lids in.
8.) A large stainless steel or enamel pot free from defects to cook the apples in.
9.) A food mill (optional): If you use a food mill, the consistancy of the applesauce will be smooth and creamy, which is best for small children. The applesauce will be chunky if you choose to not run it through the food mill, but, coring and peeling the apples will be necessary.
10.) A large bowl to catch the pulp that is squeezed through the food mill. This bowl should be large enough to hold a large amount of HOT applesauce, and, deep enough to allow the sieved apples to drop down into the bowl away from the bottom of the food mill.
11.) A long handled ladle to help fill the hot jars.
12.) A jar funnel, which fits over the lip of the jars to aid in filling the hot jars with the applesauce.
13.) Any spices or sugars needed in the recipe, usually brown sugar and cinnamon.
Wash and slice the apples. The apple peels can be left on and the apples do not necessarily need to be cored if you plan to use the food mill, as they will be strained out when the pulp is run through the food mill. Note: Apples are usually treated to keep the freshly cut flesh from turning brown due to oxidation. However, as the apples will be cooked down to pulp and put through a food mill, this step is not necessary for our recipe for applesauce.
Listed below are just a small sampling of the varieties of apples available throughout the world that are particularly suited to home canning and cooking. The apples usually have high sugar content and an exceptional aroma and taste, often enhanced by cooking and processing.
American Summer Pearmain, Arkansas Black
Baldwin, Ballarto Seedling, Beacon, Bedfordshire Foundling, Bismark
Calville Blanc, Canada Reinette, Cardinal Von Galen, Carroll,
Chehalis, Chieftan, Cole's Quince, Cortland, Cox's Orange Pippin, Crawley Beauty, Criterion, Crofton
Delcon, Discovery, Dorsett Golden
Early Harvest, Edward VII, Elstar, Empire, Epicure
Gala, Geneva, Golden Delicious, Golden Noble, Golden Nugget, Golden Reinette, Golden Russet, Golden Sweet, Goodland, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Grenadier, Grimes Golden
Haralson, Hauxapfel, Hawaii, Hawkeye Delicious, Hazen, Harrings Pippins, Heyer 12, Holstein, Howgate Wonder, Hyslop Crab
Idared, Irish Peach
James Grieve, Jerseymac, Jonalicious
Lady, Lakeland, Lobo
Macoun, Maiden's Blush, McIntosh, McLean, Melrose, Melrouge, Mutsu
Niagra, Northern Spy, Northfield Beauty, Northwest Greening, Nova Easy Gro, Novamac
Ontario, Oriole, Ottawa, Ozark Gold
Parks Pippin, Paula Red, Perry Russet, Pomme Gris, Porter, Pristine, Pumpkin Sweet
Ramsdell Sweet Raritan, Razor Russet, Red Astrachan, Red Royal Limbertwig, Reine de Reinette, Ribston Pippin, Rome Beauty, Rusty Coat
Scarlet Pippin, Shamrock, Sharon, Sierra Beauty, Skinner's Seedling, Smokehouse, Smoothee Golden Delicious, Summer Rambo, Summer Rose, Sunny Brook, Sutton Beauty, Swaar, Sweet Winesap
Tallow Pippin, Tiger (Sponsei cv.), Toko, Tolman Sweet, Tydeman's Red
Wagener, Washed Russet, Wayne, Wealthy, Wellington, Westland, Winesap, Winter Banana, Wolf Red
Yellow Bellflower, Yellow Transparent, York Imperial
Not all apples are created equal. Although almost all are suitable for eating fresh, cooking and canning, the list is shorter for apples particularly suited for cold storage. The partial list below features varieties that are known for their ability to be stored without loosing any of the flavor or texture. Maximum known storage for some varieties are noted. Keep in mind that cold storage requires temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees, dry conditions and a location out of direct light. My cold storage rack is in the garage where it is sheltered and away from sun light.
Aceymac, Alexander, Alfriston, Alkmene, Akane, Autumn Gold
Ballarat Seedling, Barry (3 months), Belle De Boskoop (one of the best of the cold storage varieties), Ben Davis, Berne Rose, Bess Pool, Blushing Golden, Bonnie Best, Bottle Greeninb, Braeburn (4 months)
Cameo (aka Carousel), Chieftan, Claygate Pearmin, Connell Red, Crofton
Dandee Red (3 months), Dr. Matthews
Edward VII, Etter's Gold
Fall Pippin, Florina, Fuji
Galarina (4+ months), Gernes Red Acre, Ginger Gold (6+ months), Granny Smith, Green Sweet, Grimes Golden
Hampshire USPP #8,519, Haralred (Lautz cv.), Hayne's Seedling, Holly (3 months), Holly (3 months), Honeycrisp USPP #7197, Honeygold, Hunt Russet (can keep in root cellar one year)
Jonagold (3+ months in refrigerator), Jonalicioous, Jonathan, Jordan Russet
Keepsake (6 months), King Cole (3 months), Kinsei
Lady Pink (6-8 months), Lakeland (2 months), Lodi
Maigold, Melrose (best taste after Christmas), Melrouge
Northern Spy, Nova Easy Gro
Pitmaston Pineapple, Prairie Spy, Priam (3 months), Priscilla (3 months), Pristine
Redwell (3 months), Regent, Reinette Gris Du Canada, Rhode Island Greening, Rome Beauty
Scarlet O'Haralson (6 months), Sierra Beauty, Smokehouse (5-6 months), Spigold, Spitzenburg, Splendour (exceptionally long storage), State Fair, Sturmer Pippin, Suncrisp (6 months), Sundance (4 months), Sundown
Tiger (Sponsei cv.), Toko, Tumanga (5 months)
Vanderpool Red (6 months), Virginia Greening
Wagener, White Winter Pearmain (oldest known English apple), Winston, Winter Banana