“Once upon a time, when you lived on an orchard…” That is what I ought to write on the tops of all these jars of apples in a toffee-maple syrup. I recently found out that my family can’t stay on the lovely farm we moved onto, because it jeopardizes my residency status for attending Oregon State University in another year. So I have been soaking up all the richness of life in rural Washington while I can, until our lease is up. One of the ways I have done this is by taking advantage of the organic apple orchard in my backyard. A few weeks ago, I made a couple batches of apple butter… but I wanted something different. I came up with this little recipe based off an idea from Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving, which canned the apples in a mixture of red hot candies and corn syrup. I don’t like either red hot candies or corn syrup, but it was great inspiration! How about Wether’s toffee candies and maple syrup? 😉 Actually, you can use any candies you want. Please do and tell me how it went! Eat these apples with oatmeal, pancakes, or over some plain whole yogurt and granola like me. Yum, yum, yum! They make a great sweet addition to breakfast on a cool October day.
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar (easy to make with organic cane sugar and organic molasses)
2/3 cup Wether’s Toffee candies
2 cinnamon sticks of about 4″
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups [Bragg’s] apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup 100% pure maple syrup
1 tsp [Plantation] organic molasses
24 medium organic apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths (treated with lemon juice before cooking to prevent browning)
1. Wash and sterilize jars and rings. Keep them in boiling water or on dry cycle of dishwasher, so they stay hot. Submerge lids into very warm, but not boiling, water. Get large pot ready for water-bath.
2. In a large stainless steel pot, combine all ingredients except apples. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to avoid candies from sticking to the bottom. Stir until candies are completely melted. Add apples and gently cover them with the sauce, cooking until they are just heated through for about 6-8 minutes. Turn the heat off and keep the pot covered. Do not let it cool to room temperature.
3. Using a slotted spoon, pack hot apples into hot jars and leave about 1/2 inch of room from the top of the jar. Ladle the hot syrup over the apples, still leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a butter-knife along the sides in the jar. Wipe the rim with a warm wet cloth, and center the lid on the jar. Screw the ring onto jars until resistance is met, then increase to “fingertip-tight”. (For more information, refer to Ball’s website.)
4. Place jars into a water-bath, and boil for about 5-15 minutes (depending on sea-level). Remove with a jar lifter, and let the jars sit until their lids have sealed. This can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours. Do not touch the lids. You’ll usually hear a “snap” if they sealed, and a vacuum will cause the lids to suction down. The next day, check that the lids have sealed by pressing on them. If your finger pops back up from any of the lids, then the sealing did not work. You can try a new lid and process them again, or place that jar into the fridge.
Enjoy your food and health!