Early Autumn Brings Bounty Of Apples

IN THE KITCHEN

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The Rim Country is going to have a big bounty of apples this fall.

On one of my routes to work I see both massive and diminutive apple trees bowing with the weight of the year's crop.

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Payson Roundup reporter Max Foster and his wife, Kay, will have a bounty of apples for their grandchildren to pick in the coming weeks of September.

Area residents enjoyed a similar bumper crop in 2004, at the time, Glen McCombs of Plant Fair Nursery explained, "We didn't have the late freeze to kill the blooms. We have one of these bumper crop years about every four or five years."

Not long ago, a reader requested a copy of the recipes published at the time, so it seemed this would be a good time to share them with everyone, plus a few more.

Apples can be preserved by freezing, as well as by canning, or they can be dried. The most common methods are freezing and canning.

Apples can be preserved in different forms too, such as spiced apple rings, applesauce and apple butter.

Spiced Apple Rings

Ingredients:

12 pounds firm tart apples (maximum diameter 2-1/2 inches)

12 cups sugar

6 cups water

1-1/4 cups white vinegar (5 percent)

3 tablespoons whole cloves

3/4 cup red hot cinnamon

candies or 8 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

Yield: About 8 to 9 pints

Procedure: Wash apples. To prevent discoloration, peel and slice one apple at a time. Immediately cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, remove core area with a melon baller and immerse in ascorbic acid solution. To make flavored syrup, combine sugar, water, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon candies (or cinnamon sticks) and food coloring in a 6-quart saucepan. Stir, heat to boil and simmer 3 minutes. Drain apples, add to hot syrup and cook 5 minutes.

Fill jars (preferably wide-mouth) with apple rings and hot flavored syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 15 minutes.

Applesauce

Quantity: An average of 21 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 14 to 19 quarts of sauce, an average of 3 pounds per quart.

Quality: Select apples that are sweet, juicy and crisp. For a tart flavor, add 1 to 2 pounds of tart apples to each 3 pounds of sweeter fruit.

Procedure: Wash, peel and core apples. If desired, slice apples into water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning. Place drained slices in an 8- to 10-quart pot. Add 1/2 cup water. Stirring occasionally to prevent burning, heat quickly until tender (5 to 20 minutes, depending on maturity and variety). Press through a sieve or food mill, or skip the pressing step if you prefer chunk-style sauce. Sauce may be packed without sugar. If desired, add 1/8 cup sugar per quart of sauce. Taste and add more, if preferred. Reheat sauce to boiling. Fill jar with hot sauce, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process. Process for 20 minutes if canning pints, 30 minutes for quarts. Cool quickly. Pack in rigid containers. Leave headspace. To serve cold, thaw in wrapping at room temperature. To serve hot, unwrap and heat at 350 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Thaw at room temperature.

Apple Butter

Ingredients:

8 pounds apples

2 cups cider

2 cups vinegar (5 percent acidity)

2-1/4 cups white sugar

2-1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground cloves

Yield: About 8 to 9 pints

Procedure: Wash, remove stems, quarter and

core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for two minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is ready for canning. Fill hot apple butter into sterile half-pint or pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Quart jars need not be presterilized. Adjust lids and process 10 minutes for pints and 15 minutes for quarts.

The best use of fresh apples is probably a pie or cake. But the fruit is also great in salads and main dishes.

One of my favorite ways to cook with apples is to make baked pork chops with sliced apples. I came across a recipe where they were used with a pot roast and that sounded like something to try. The recipe is in the most recent edition of "Better Homes and Gardens" and reads like it will be more stew-like than like a roast. It would probably work with a pork roast as well as the beef chuck pot roast called for in the recipe.

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