I took a one-hour subbing job this morning at Yucaipa High School, just to get my feet wet again (I have an all-day job tomorrow). Afterwards, I drove up to Oak Glen so I could get apples and cider. Oak Glen is a small community that sits at about 4500-5000' up against the San Bernardino Mountains above Yucaipa. I live over the ridge from it, at 6000' in a different canyon. Because of the elevation, it's an ideal place for growing apples, and is known all over southern California as one of the best places to go. There are orchards, shops, restaurants, and other related business (pony rides, for example!) and gets pretty busy during the harvest months of September - November.
The first place I stopped was Law's Apple Barn, since I knew he had the best prices. We picked out a box of mixed apples - Pippins, Golden Delicious, Jona-Golds, and a few Granny Smiths. A mixture is best for making pie fillings. These were "C" grade, meaning they had a few spots (some were perfect little apples) so I got 25 pounds for $20.
My second stop was Parrish Pioneer Ranch, where I got a gallon of apple cider and two apple burritos, one for me and one for Don. Those gave me the idea for making a few small containers of apple pie filling for desserts like that.
I had to set up my apple peeler/slicer in the basement - it was the only place I could find a spot to clamp it. I processed about a third of the box, and brought the big bowl upstairs to the kitchen to make the apple pie filling. I think I could have used 3-4 more little apples, but I still had enough pie filling for four quarts and three pints.
from SB Canning
10 lbs. tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced (~20 cups sliced)
5 ½ cups sugar (I used 2 cups brown sugar and 3 1/2 cups white)
1 ½ cup Clearjel
1 T. cinnamon
2-½ cups cold water
5 cups apple juice (I used apple cider)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup bottled lemon juice
For fresh apples, place 6 cups at a time into 1 gallon of boiling water and boil one minute when it comes back to a boil. Drain but keep fruit covered in a bowl. In a stockpot, mix the sugar, Clearjel, cinnamon, nutmeg together. Add the water and apple juice, stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice. Fold apples into mixture. Pack the apples into hot, sterilized quart size canning jars, about 3/4 of the way. Fill the jars with the prepared hot syrup to fill to 1" headspace. Using a rubber or plastic spatula run through the contents of each jar to remove the air bubbles. Fill again to 1" headspace with syrup. Wipe the rims and place the hot lid/rings on the jars. Process in a water bath canner for 25 minutes at a full rolling boil. Wait 5 minutes, remove and place on dishtowel overnight undisturbed. The next day remove rings and clean jars and label with recipe name and date. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
On Wednesday, I think I'll freeze a bunch of the remaining apples.