by Tammy Taylor
Well, we’re almost at the end of our Fresh Apple Series where I share various things I’ve been able to preserve using fresh apples in the peak of their season. And what a series it’s been! I’ve of course made Slow-Cooker Applesauce with many of the apples. I’ve even made and canned some of that applesauce into Cinnamon-Vanilla Flavored Applesauce. Plus I made and canned Apple Pie Filling for quick homemade pies. And of course one of RancherMan’s favorites too. I dehydrated some of those delicious apples into crispy Cinnamon/Sugar Apple Chips. But we’re not done yet, oh no! Those apples still have deliciousness to offer to our family. Today I’m sharing how I preserved my Homemade Apple Cider.
Byproduct of Homemade Applesauce
While cooking my applesauce, the apples released much of their juice. But I’m not going to drain it off and dispose of it. When I saw all the juice that was remaining I couldn’t help but to think about the cooler weather to come. I want to save that juice and can apple cider to enjoy this winter!
So as I was making my applesauce I strained the juice using a fine mesh strainer. The juice was stored in my refrigerator. When all my applesauce was done I pulled out that juice and strained it once again. Some people might like this final strain to be done using a coffee filter to get all the tiny particles of apple that are remaining. But I like the slightly thick consistency that these teeny-tiny bits offer. So I just strained it again using the fine mesh strainer and stopped when I got to the apple sediment at the bottom of my container. This was about perfect for me. I placed that strained juice in my stock pot and turned on the heat to medium to begin heating it up.
Sanitize The Canning Jars
In the meantime I pulled out my canning jars and washed them up. I filled them with water and placed them in my water-bath canner. Of course the canner was also filled with water to the top of the jars. Then I placed the whole shebangie on the stove to heat. By heating these clean jars for a bit I’ve sanitized my jars in preparation for canning. Plus by filling hot jars with hot liquid you have less chance for breakage than if your jars were not hot.
I also brought out my canning jar lids. Some were standard lids but some were my *Tattler reusable lids because I love that they can be reused over & over again. I typically use about half traditional & half Tattlers when I’m canning so I get the pleasure of hearing that “PING” with the traditional lids while still utilizing the reusable Tattlers. Plus since I don’t want my Tattlers leaving the house. So using some traditional lids when I’m canning assures that I have some of these jars of cider available to give out with our homemade Christmas Gifts if we like.
Anyway, I prep the lids by first boiling some water in a small pan. Then I remove the pan from the heat and drop the lids into the hot water to soften the rubber. You don’t want to boil them – just get them nice & hot. I cover the pot to keep everything good & hot until I need them.
Preserved Apple Cider In Water-Bath Canner
By now my apple cider is boiling and my jars have been sanitized so I’m ready to start canning. In this case the canning is easy-peasy, I just ladle in my hot apple cider into my hot jars leaving only 1/4″ head space. Then I wipe the rims of the jar with a damp rag to assure no apple bits or juice are between the jar and the lids to keep them from sealing properly. Finally I attach the canning lids and return the filled jars to the water-bath canner.
Once my water begins boiling again I set my timer for 10 minutes to process the jars. When the timer goes off I carefully bring out the hot jars and place them on a kitchen towel. There they will remain undisturbed overnight. I do love hearing all those jars go “PING!”
The next morning I removed the rings and tested for proper seals. The traditional lids will be slightly sunken in at the middle and will make no plinky-noise when pressed. The Tattlers will remain tight when light pressure is used as if you were trying to gently remove the lids. Hooray – all sealed! Now all that’s left to do is wash down my jars, label them with contents and date and store them in my pantry.
During those raw winter months I love to sit on the couch snuggling with my handsome RancherMan under a blanket, a blazing fire in the fireplace and a steaming cup of spiced apple cider stirred with a cinnamon stick to warm me from the inside out.
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