I've been spending quite a bit of time canning fruit lately. I think I'm almost done, although I would still like to do pears and fruit cocktail.
A friend gave me a neat tip - her aunt doesn't peel her peaches. So I tried it. I haven't eaten any yet but they look good. The skin actually almost disappears. She says the skin comes off easily when you open the jar so a person can decide whether to eat it or not. It sure sped up the canning process. It also helped that the peaches were perfectly ripe and came off the pit beautifully.
I've been making applesauce too. I tried making some fruit leathers. They turned out quite well but it's quite a long process. Considering how quickly it disappears around here, I'm not convinced if I should keep on doing it. I do have one more bowl in the fridge to put on the dehydrator.
I made apple butter again this year. It turned out very tasty. The recipe is from the More with Less cookbook, which is one of my favourite cookbooks.
Oven Apple Butter
Combine in a large greased roast pan:
5 qts applesauce, unsweetened
10 c. sugar
1 c. vinegar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. cloves
Bake at 350 for 3 hours or until thick. Stir every 20 minutes (I set the timer otherwise there is no hope of ever remembering to stir it). Pour into sterilized jars and seal. I don't can mine if they seal right away.
The first time I made this, I let it cook down too much. It will thicken as it cools so even if there is some liquid on the top, just stir it in and put it in the jars. It's fairly strong so smaller jars are better.
My mother-in-law, who is 82, was over for supper the first night I finished this. She said that she first had apple butter when she was in her late teens, working for a Mennonite family. She put some on a bun and said, "Oh, that takes me back!" I thought that was neat.
We like to use apple butter on pancakes, on oatmeal and sometimes on bread or buns. It's also good as a condiment for meat.
I also made Apricot Chutney this year for the first time and I was pleased how it turned out. Sometimes chutney can be very strong. I combined two recipes because of a mistake in one of the recipes.
The first is here. Unfortunately, they left out the quantities for the vinegar. So I used the amount from the second recipe, which is 2 1/2 c. cider vinegar. However, I found it was better to add about half the vinegar and stir it in, then add the rest slowly, going by taste.
Chutney is wonderful with virtually any type of meat. The More with Less cookbook also calls for it as a condiment with curry. A little with crackers and cheese as an appetizer can also be very tasty!