Did I Say Canning Season Was Over. . . NOT!

Nope, canning season is not over and believe it or not I’m glad. I’ve been canning half-gallons of apple juice all morning!

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.

Twenty half-gallons of fresh apple juice canned and sealed.  There’s only 15 jars showing here because the last batch is just about ready to come off the stove.

Our orchards did not bare much for us this year due to the frigid spring and heavy frost when the trees were budding and flowering. I love a glass of juice when I first get up in the mornings and apple juice is one of my favorites right up there with grape juice.  We decided we would have to purchase some apples to make me some juice.

Eddie and I ventured over to Botetourt County last week and picked up six 70-lb. sacks of their cider apples.  The day we arrived to pick them up they were sorting Red Delicious and they were beautiful  Out of 420 pounds of apples we may have found a dozen with rotten spots.

Six bags of red delicious apples

Six bags of red delicious apples

Beautiful Red Delicous apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

Beautiful Red Delicious apples for eating, juicing, cooking and baking.

On Tuesday, our daughter was off from work and came up to press apples with us.  We cleaned up the cider press, washed the apples, and started pressing all of the wonderful juice out of the apples.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Cider press is cleaned and ready to make some juice.

Pouring in the first bucket full

Pouring in the first bucket full

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Cider Mill

American Cider Mill

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won't miss a family outing.

Sassy watches close by and freezing since she got a haircut and cold air gets in her old bones pretty quick but she won’t miss a family outing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished the seventy pounds with two 12 gallon milk cans full of juice and a bowl full of apples left over to eat and make some apple bars.

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring

We use all of our milkcans here on the farm for cider in the fall, watering our plants as we put them in the garden and for maple syrup in the spring.

Heather presses.

Heather presses.

Mom presses.

Mom presses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family fun

Family fun

We stored the cans in our garage until this morning so it would stay ice-cold and so the settlements squished into the juice would settle to the bottom of the can.

I washed up all of the half gallons jars and sterilized them for the juice.  Eddie went to the garage and  poured the juice gently into large stainless steel pots and brought them to the kitchen.  I heated the juice just to boiling and poured it into the hot jars. placed the lids on and tighten them for canning.  The jars were too tall to fit any of my canners so we used our turkey cooker for the job and it held five half-gallon jars.

Turkey deep fryer hasn't been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

Turkey deep fryer hasn’t been used a lot but it sure came in handy for this job. I rarely use half-gallon jars for any canning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After placing the filled jars in the “canner”, I filled it with hot water almost covering the jars, turned the heat up to high and waited for it to start boiling.  Once the boiling started, I timed the process for 25 minutes and when completed I turned off the stove and let the boiling stop.  I then picked up the jars and placed them on a heavy towel on my kitchen table (away from drafts) so they could seal. We have twenty half-gallons which should last through most of the winter.

The difference in the quart and half-gallon jar is shown here.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

Half-gallon jar compared to a quart jar.

 

I love these tongs because they're so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

I love these tongs because they’re so strong and easy to handle when removing full, hot jars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saved the sacks the apples were in to use next year when picking our own apples if Mother Nature cooperates, bagging onions, drying walnuts or anything else we may need them for.

These green mesh sacks held 65 - 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

These green mesh sacks held 65 – 70 pounds of apples and we save them for other uses. Recycle is a big word at our place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The apple peelings filled up one big galvanized bath tub and four five gallon buckets.  We feed them to each of the three herds of cattle and our bulls.  The extra milkcan of juice will harden to cider which we also love.  If there’s any that gets too hard, I’ll let it turn to vinegar and store it in jugs in the cellar.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They're unbelievably dry at this point. I'm sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it's all gone. I'll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

Leftovers after the juice is pressed out. They’re unbelievably dry at this point. I’m sure the squirrels will be raiding the barn until it’s all gone. I’ll also put some out for the wild rabbits that hang around the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just put some apple bars in the oven and I’ll share the recipe if it turns out well since it’s a new one for me!

There’s rarely anything that goes to waste on our farm.  This does NOT end the canning season either!!!!  I killed a really nice 7-point buck yesterday and the hams will be cubed and canned early in the next week.

Our chestnut season is over though and we sold 35+ pounds of those this week and saved about 10 pounds for ourselves to snack on.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

The chestnuts were few this year but the ones we picked up were huge and so sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time. . . .

26 responses to “Did I Say Canning Season Was Over. . . NOT!

  1. I find your blog (life) most interesting. Thanks for the education. Merry Christmas. Brick

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  2. I don’t have a pot large enough for the half gallon jars either so use quart jars for our juices. We made 8 quarts of Concord Grape Juice and 8 quarts of Apple juice. I use an old heritage tree back in our woods which is a very tart apple and mix it with our Macintosh trees. Always delicious! Love your press!! Tina

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  3. May I post on Facebook?

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  4. Never a moment of dullness on “Farm Caldwell”.
    You and Eddie are ‘working machines” bordering on
    the incredible.
    Your Apple Cider would be Colin free. I don’t like it at
    all, sorry.
    Bad luck with the non-cooperation of the Spring weather.
    Here Spring is here and the weather is already beach weather.
    The burning off of undergrowth on the outskirts of Sydney
    and the other southern cities has started in earnest.
    The news this morning showed an amazing smoke haze
    all over Sydney Harbour, but it is better to start this process
    off before any bushfires start.
    Cheers and good luck with the cider.
    Your Aussie mate who is amazed at your fortitude.
    Colin

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  5. I love your apple press! I haven’t seen one in years…since I was a child.

    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your post. What are the best apples for juicing?

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    • We actually like ours a little tart and use stamens, johnson winters, and starks. The day we picked up our apples the only kind they had were the red delicious. The juice we got from these is very sweet and I would’ve liked for it to be a little more tangy but we do with what we got!

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      • Aha. I’d never heard of stamens and Johnson winters. (I learned something.)The apples used in our apple jellies are Wolf Rivers. Both sweet and tart, large and quite fragrant.

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        • The Wolf River is one I would like to add to our orchards.We have mostly heritage apples that were planted by Eddie’s great uncle and we’ve lost so many of them to the wind storms the last few years. We’re adding a few new trees each year but it’s really hard to keep them going and to keep the deer from eating them or horning all the bark off of all the fruit trees.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yikes. Those horns are pretty fierce. I guess putting wire around the tree trunks wouldn’t help, then. Our Wolf Rivers: two massively wide and tall trees, about 140 years old. Taller than our very tall farmhouse.

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          • In March I may beg for grafts/starts from your tree to graft to some of our young trees or rootstock. This farm has been in the family for over 250 years and we’re trying to graft all of the old trees to keep the heritage going. We have grafting classes in the spring and the class includes grafts and root stock which is great for $30. Our local extension class puts on the classes and teaches about anything you want to know about the trees. Hands on is great for my mind and eyes. We get about 15 rootstock and as much grafts as we want from about 30 choices and Wolf River is one of the grafts.

            Liked by 1 person

          • We put woven wire about three feet out from the trunks but the deer have been know to get it stuck on those horns and carry off the fence and tear up the trees.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Your apple juice looks wonderful! I just adore your cider press. How old is it and how did you get it? It was very ingenious for you to use your turkey fryer… whatever works! Also, I just tasted my first chestnut this past weekend while on a farm tour – delicious! The farm wife had made the chestnuts into a very tasty hot soup. Now I want a chestnut tree!

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  8. Wow! I’ve never canned anything in half gallons — your juice looks beautiful! Looks like your work is never done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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