After acquiring a bushel of semi-good apples (they had been stored for a while and were no longer the best for fresh eating), I set out to salvage as much as I could! My first task was cutting out the brown, spotty, or very soft parts - these went into a gallon jar with water, sugar, and a splash of starter to ferment into apple cider vinegar.
This jar will be covered with a cloth like the ones behind it (which are kombucha). If you’re looking for a guide for ACV, I recommend the post on Homestead and Chill.
Next, the good apple chunks were roasted for 1 hour in pans covered with foil (and a good glug of water). After cooling, I ran the apples through my food mill/strainer kitchen aid attachment and reserved the baking water.
The resulting sauce I heated to a good boil and water bath canned - first processing 3 quarts + 2 slim jars of basic sauce, and then adding frozen raspberries and grated fresh ginger to the rest. That got me 8 pints of pretty pink sauce.
I could have stopped here and felt fine about it… but the bits that came out of the food mill still looked like they had some good stuff to them, and I had saved that baking juice, so…
Into the pot they went, with a few more cups of water, a cinnamon stick, and a vanilla bean husk. Simmered for an hour (covered, didn’t want to lose any liquid yet) and run through the mill again. This time, the discards were much more dry and I was satisfied that I had worked them enough.
Now this secondary sauce I brought to a low boil and added 1 cup of maple syrup, a 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste, 1/4 tsp(ish) fresh grated nutmeg, 1/4 tsp fresh ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, a pinch of salt, and a dash of ground allspice.
Simmering for about 2 hours, with frequent stiring, the volume reduced by about half. After a final pass with a stick blender to get it as smooth as possible, I canned 5 pints of delicious spiced apple butter.
Now I can rest… except for that other half bushel I still have in the fridge… anyone have a favorite appley baked good they want to share?
Note: the apple butter recipe was adapted from The Patchy Lawn: pear butter using peels & cores!