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. 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
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.
Pouring in the first bucket full
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Until next time. . . .