Keeping the Harvest – Canning
Imagine opening a jar of perfectly preserved Ambrosia apples during the chill of winter and being greeted by the unmistakable aroma of fresh, juicy apples. Water bath canning, a method as old as time, allows us to capture the essence of these delightful fruits and savour their flavours year-round. From its simplicity to its ability to maintain the texture and flavour of the apples, water bath canning is a cherished technique that transforms Ambrosia apples into a pantry staple that adds flavour to every meal.
- Simplicity and Accessibility
Water bath canning is a culinary art that doesn’t require a master’s touch. Unlike complex preservation methods, water bath canning is an excellent technique for beginners. With minimal equipment—a large pot, canning jars, lids, and a canning rack or kitchen towel—you’re ready to embark on your preservation journey.
- Safeguarding with Heat
Safety in preserving food is paramount. Water bath canning ensures that harmful microorganisms are vanquished, making your Ambrosia apples safe to enjoy. The heat of boiling water becomes a powerful ally, eradicating bacteria, yeasts, and mold that could otherwise spoil your culinary creations.
- Texture and Flavour: Uncompromised
Preservation shouldn’t mean compromising the essence of the food. Water bath canning maintains the texture, flavour, and colour of Ambrosia apples. This is especially vital for delicate foods like apples, where each slice contains the very essence of the fruit.
- The Power of High-Acid Foods
Ambrosia apples and water bath canning are a match made in culinary heaven. Water bath canning is particularly suited for high-acid foods—those with a pH of 4.6 or lower. The acidity acts as a natural shield against the growth of harmful microorganisms, making Ambrosia apples prime candidates for this preservation method.
- Versatility: From Jams to Slices
Water bath canning isn’t confined to a single recipe. It’s a versatile technique that accommodates a wide range of culinary creations. From vibrant jams and jellies to chutneys and salsas, this method lets you explore the culinary potential of Ambrosia apples.
- Longevity in a Jar
The beauty of water bath canning lies in its ability to extend the shelf life of your creations. Stored in a cool, dark place, properly canned Ambrosia apples can last for a year or more. This not only curbs food waste but also ensures a steady supply of homemade goodness.
- Budget-Friendly Bliss
In a world where complex equipment can dent your wallet, water bath canning is a budget-friendly alternative. Say goodbye to expensive tools; this method thrives on simplicity. Reusable canning jars and rings further enhance the cost-effectiveness of this technique.
- A Taste of Accomplishment
There’s a unique satisfaction in crafting your own preserved foods. Water bath canning empowers you to control every ingredient in your creations. With every jar sealed, you revel in the accomplishment of creating something not only delicious but also shelf-stable.
Step-by-step guide to canning Ambrosia apples:
- 10 pounds of apples (about 20-25 medium-sized apples)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups of granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (for preserving color)
- Canning jars with lids and bands (about 8 pint-sized jars or 4 quart-sized jars)
- Canning pot or large stockpot
- Canning funnel
- Jar lifter
- Bubble remover tool
- Clean towels
- Prepare the Jars:
- Wash 8 pint-sized canning jars, lids, and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly.
- Sterilize the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Keep them warm until ready to use.
- Prepare the Apples:
- Wash, peel, and core the apples.
- Slice the apples into desired sizes (e.g., wedges, rings, or chunks).
- Place the apple slices in a large water bowl with lemon juice or ascorbic acid to prevent browning. Stir to ensure all slices are coated.
- Prepare the Syrup:
- In a pot, combine 4 cups of water and 2 cups of granulated sugar.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved. This will create a light syrup.
- Blanch the Apples (optional):
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Carefully blanch the apple slices in the boiling water for about 1-2 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the blanched apple slices to a bowl of ice water to cool rapidly.
- Drain the cooled apple slices well.
- Pack the Jars:
- Pack the sterilized jars with the blanched apple slices, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top.
- Remove Air Bubbles:
- Gently insert a bubble remover tool or a non-metallic spatula into the jars to release any trapped air bubbles. Add more apple slices if needed.
- Add Syrup (if using):
- Pour the prepared light syrup into the jars, covering the apple slices and leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Wipe the Jar Rims:
- Use a clean, damp towel to wipe the rims of the jars to ensure a clean seal.
- Apply Lids and Bands:
- Place the sterilized lids on the jars and screw on the bands until they are fingertip tight. Do not over-tighten.
- Process in a Water Bath:
- Place the filled jars in a canning pot or large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the jars by about 1-2 inches.
- Bring the water to a gentle boil and process the pint-sized jars for about 15-20 minutes and quart-sized jars for about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove and Cool:
- Turn off the heat and carefully remove the jars from the water bath using a jar lifter. Place them on a clean towel or cooling rack to cool.
- Check Seal and Store:
- Once the jars are fully cooled, check for a proper seal. Press the center of the lids; if they do not flex, the jars are sealed.
- Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Label the jars with the date and content.
Remember to adjust quantities based on the number of jars you’re using and your personal preferences for sweetness and syrup content.
Whether adorning your morning oatmeal, inspiring an afternoon snack, or lending a burst of flavour to your dinner creations, these preserved treasures will bring lots of joy for many months.
After giving this technique a try – snap a photo! Tag us in your posts using #AmbrosiaApples and #AmbrosiaTestKitchen, and we may feature your post in our following newsletter!