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Canning Apple Cider

canned apple cider canned apple cider (photo by jhy)
You will need: apple cider
quart canning jars
lids and rings
jar lifter
paper towel

Canning apple cider is one method to preserve the goodness of cider all winter. The ones I canned have a small amount of floating "stuff" on top, but I can easily strain that out when they are opened. It's the result of not skimming the foam quite completely enough.

Prepare canning jars by washing and sterilizing. Then fill with hot apple cider leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Follow general directions for hot water bath canning, and process for 20 minutes.

Remove from water, cool, remove rings, label and store.

Pasteurizing Fresh Apple Cider

apple cider at 180 degrees apple cider at 180 F (photo by jhy)
You will need: fresh homemade apple cider
large kettle
jelly thermometer

  • you have concerns about your fresh cider being safe
  • you want to store it for a week or so
  • you plan to can the cider
you need to pasteurize it.

This simply means to raise the temperature high enough to kill most bacteria. It is not necessary to boil it, as this can change the flavor of some foods (for example, pasteurized milk is not boiled). The critical temperature is 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).

Put the cider in a large kettle, and clip a jelly thermometer on the side. Be sure that the bulb of the thermometer does not rest on the bottom of the pan. At least an inch clearance is good.

Heat the cider over medium high heat until the correct temperature is reached. Skim off the foam with a metal spoon. If you are going to can it, pour immediately into hot glass jars. If you are going to store it, you may need to let it cool. Particularly if you are putting it in plastic containers.

Freezing Autumn Olive Berries

autumn olive berries after being frozen autumn olive berries after being frozen (photo by jhy)
You will need: autumn olive berries picked after first frost, any amount
a cookie sheet or tray with edges
space in your freezer to lay the tray flat
freezer bags

The preparation for freezing is a bit time consuming, but you can do a bowl full while watching TV or something. It's quite mindless. I think the flavor is worth it.

Collect autumn olive berries after the first frost. You can continue to collect them until they begin to be soft and mushy.

I don't wash the berries because you want them to be completely dry, and they don't get dirty on the bushes. You can throw out any that concern you when you pick them over. Remove all the little gray stems, and any debris from your collection efforts. This is the tedious part. Discard any berries that are shriveled or hard. Your goal is berries that will be eaten raw.

autumn olive berries on a tray autumn olive berries ready for the first freezing (photo by jhy)
Place berries on a cookie sheet or other metal tray with a lip, in one layer. Don't spread them more than one layer deep. Put the tray of berries in the freezer, uncovered for about a day. This will freeze the berries solid, but they will still be loose, not clumped together or squashed.

frozen packet of autumn olive berries frozen packet of autumn olive berries (photo by jhy)
Remove berries from the tray and double bag. Label and return to the freezer. The berries pictured in the bag are what is left of the ones I froze last year, and they are still loose and perfectly good to use.

I like to use these as a garnish on yogurt or salad. I think the flavor is particularly nice on salad and the slight crunch of the seeds is masked by the crunch of the salad. I just open the bags and take out what I want, then press the air out of the bags, reseal and place it back in the freezer.

Low Fat Apple Crisp

apple crisp apple crisp (photo by jhy)
You will need:
  • 7 c apple slices
  • 1/3 c sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 c quick rolled oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 c oleo (margarine)
9x13 inch pan bowls spoons, scraper, etc sharp knife This apple crisp is delicious, having all the goodness of apple pie without the calories of the pie crust. It's very basic, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand if you bake regularly. I made the mistake of using oats that were not "quick" the first time I made it. They do not soften, despite the long baking time, and the topping was very crunchy. I didn't mind, but hubby did not like that. You could add some nutmeg too, if you like.
apples mixed for crisp apples and spices mixed (photo by jhy)
Peel, core and slice apples till you have 7 cups. Toss them with the white sugar (or substitute), flour, and 2 t of the cinnamon. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a baking pan. Cut together the oats, brown sugar, 1 t cinnamon, and the oleo, until crumbly. Sprinkle this on top of the apples. Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes. This is great with ice cream, whipped topping, yogurt, or just plain.

Cold Pack Easy Autumn Olive Juice

canned autumn olive juice autumn olive juice right after processing (photo by jhy)
You will need: autumn olive berries- 1 c for each quart
3/8 c. sugar, or 1/8 c sugar and 1/4 c sugar substitute for each quart
quart canning jars
lids, rings
jar lifter, potholders, etc

This method of making juice does not result in a beverage you can drink immediately, but it's incredibly easy. You have to wait a few months to drink the juice. When I discovered that autumn olive berries were edible, I had to try this, and the results are very much like a fruit punch.

I've used this method of making juice with several different kinds of fruit, but this post will focus on autumn olive. It is very easy, and doesn't require much work.

Wash and sterilize as many quart jars as you think you will need. You can cover with a clean towel and let them rest until you have the fruit ready.

You'll need one cup of clean autumn olive berries for each quart. Try to remove the small gray stems, but it won't matter if you miss a few. Most of them probably came off when you stripped the berries from the trees. See Harvesting Autumn Olive

dry pack autumn olive juice autumn olive berries and sweetener, before adding boiling water (photo by jhy)
Set water to boil- enough to fill all the jars you plan to use. Then, in each quart jar put 1 c of berries and 3/8 c of sweetener. This can be all sugar, or part sugar and part substitute. I have not tried it with all sugar substitute, but it would probably work since there is no texture issue in this recipe as there is with baking.

Fill jars with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Clean rim, put on lids and rings. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. See basic instructions for hot water bath canning. canning.

glass of autumn olive juice a glass of autumn olive juice with the berries crushed slightly to release some color (photo by jhy)
The just-processed juice will be clear to translucent. When the jars have cooled, remove rings and place the juice in a pantry or somewhere to store for at least three months before opening. Over this time, the juice will develop.

When you are ready to open the jars, the juice will still be almost clear. I found that crushing the fruit just a bit, to release some of the red coloring, makes a more attractive juice, although the taste is the same.

Strain and remove the remaining fruit. The juice is then ready to drink.

Basic Traditional Apple Pie- 10 inch

homemade apple pie traditional apple pie (photo by jhy)
You will need:
  • 7 c apple slices (10-20 apples, depending on size and damage)
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c sugar (or half sugar substitute)
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • butter or margarine
  • pie crust for a 10" pie, double crust- ready made or your favorite recipe
10-inch pie plate rolling pin sharp knife large bowl spoons, scrapers, etc Preheat oven to 375 F When you are grazing the ditches, you don't ask questions about which variety of apples make the best pie. You just make the pie. That said, if your apples are really sweet they are going to make a really sweet, mushy pie. Crisp and tart apples will be best. This recipe has no frills. It's just a basic, all-American, traditional apple pie. Eat it for dessert, or for breakfast!
unbaked homemade apple pie basic apple pie ready for the oven (photo by jhy)
I rarely make 9-inch pies. If I am going to enough work to make a pie, I make one that will last a few days. However, I've basically found that a 10 inch pie will hold almost twice as much fruit as a 9-inch pie. Peel, core and slice apples about 1/8 inch thick, until you have 7 cups of fruit. Add flour, sweeteners and spices. Stir to coat. Put bottom crust in pie pan, fill with fruit mixture. Dot with butter or margarine
homemade apple pie slice of apple pie with whipped topping (photo by jhy)
Add top crust and seal. Be sure to cut a few vents in the top crust. Bake at 375 F for one hour. A slice of 10" pie (made with 1/4 c. sugar and 1/4 c sugar substitute), and equal to 1/10 of the pie has about 375 calories.

Harvesting Autumn Olive

Autumn Olive berries are edible and delicious if they are harvested after the first hard frost. This causes the sugar to move into the fruit. Watch the video for a demonstration of picking the berries.

Plant identification post coming soon.