Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Its okay to throw out apple peels
Every year when I put up apples I try to find something to do with the peels besides compost or at least before composting them. Last year I made several gallons of apple cider vinegar. This year I decided to make apple scrap jelly, which is super good by the way. I'll give the recipe later.
Anyway, I have been making jelly using all the scraps and am getting tired of making jelly but I don't need any more vinegar either. Suddenly the thought came to me. ITS OKAY TO THROW SOME OUT. Wait, what? Huh. So I decided to count to see just how many jars of apple jelly I have made in the last two weeks and oh my. I've made 65 jars and have enough juice in the fridge for 3 or 4 more batches. I will be giving jelly to everyone, my friends, my family. my hairdresser, lol.
I made the realization that I can just bury the apple peels and cores in the garden without making something out of them first, I really can. I think. I'm going to try to do that anyway. It goes against my frugal nature. But I'm going to try.
Here is how I make my spiced apple jelly.
As I use my apple peeler, corer, slicer I toss the peels and cores into my crockpot that I already have put a dozen or so whole cloves and a quart or so of water. When the crockpot is full I arrange my apple slices on my dehydrator trays and hold the tray over the crockpot as I sprinkle cinnamon on. I move the tray around as I sprinkle each part of it to try to get as much of the extra cinnamon as possible into the crockpot. Then I add more water until its almost full, turn it on high put the lid on and let it cook for several hours. When the cores are soft I drain the resulting juice into a large pitcher. This juice is what I use to make my jelly. I don't add any spices because it cooked with clove and cinnamon.
5 cups juice
1 to 1-1/2 packages of pectin ( I buy in bulk and use 1/2 c.)
7 cups sugar
Pour the juice into a large pan and set the stove to high. Then take a large bowl and measure the sugar into it and add the pectin to the sugar. I take a spoon and mix the pectin into the sugar.
Make sure you have your water bath canner or steam canner ready to go as well as clean jars and lids. I put the lids (flats) into a little bit of water and warm them on the stove.
Once the juice starts to boil, stir in the sugar/pectin mixture and continue to stir. Add a pat of butter at this time to help reduce the foam that builds up naturally. It wont eliminate it but it sure cuts down on it.
Continue to stir occasionally and heat on high until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. This mean that when you stir it continues to boil really hard. I stir and wait a little bit to make sure it really is boiling good.
Then I set my timer for 2 minutes. I continue to cook and stir until the two minutes are up. Then I turn off the stove and skim off the foam. Its important to do this step because it helps your jelly look nice. I save the foam in a bowl and eat it. Its a sort of quality control, it also lets me know that this batch is going to set up good.
Next I take my canning funnel and fill the jars, one at a time. I wipe the rims with a paper towel, put a flat and screw band on and place in my canner. I use a steam canner. I continue until all of the juice/jelly is in jars. I leave about 1/4 inch head space. Once your canner is boiling or in my case the steam is coming out at least 8 inches I begin to time. The recipe says to process 10 minutes but I always process for 12 minutes for good measure. When the time is up carefully remove the jars and place on a folded towel. Do not touch or move them for 24 hours. After 24 hours take the rings or screw bands off and wash in soapy water. If the jar didn't seal place it in the fridge and eat soon. Of the 65 jars I have made so far every one has sealed. I had dabs left over on a few batches which I poured into jars and put into the fridge so they wouldn't go to waste. I would just take the jar out of the fridge and add to it at the end of each batch. Usually there would be a couple of tablespoons of jelly left in the pot. These added up to 3 pints. Waste not want not.
Once your jars are clean label them and put them in the pantry or give them to friends.
When I was canning peaches I made peach peel and pit jelly and it was very good too. Next time I can pineapple I will make pineapple scrap jelly. There is no sense in buying a new jug of juice and making jelly when you can make jelly with scraps.