I came to the canning game a little late last summer. By the time I felt comfortable making something on my own, August was almost over and the summer produce in the market was waning. This just means that I am inordinately excited for the coming spring. I mean, it’s January and I’ve got the jitters. Lately, I’ve needed something to hold me over until spring and apples do the trick!
Around here, there are still apples in the market and although they’re not ideal for eating fresh, they’re totally preservable. I adapted this recipe from Put ’em Up!, by Sheri Brooks Vinton. It’s a great book. What I love about it is the recipes are unique, without being overly fussy. Also, it’s organized by type of produce, so you can flip to the apple section and get a number of different ideas about what to do with your apples.
I’ve sang the praises of vanilla bean paste before and that’s what I used here. I love the pairing of apple and vanilla ( I made an apple pie with vanilla bean and bourbon earlier in the year). It’s comfort plus comfort. It’s probably no coincidence that I made these preserves when I was snowed in this week. I had three apples in my fridge, so this is a super small batch. I’ll share with you my version of Sheri’s recipe below, but make your own adjustments from the original to ensure safety and buy the book!
Apple Vanilla Bean Preserves
This will make about two half-pints. If you didn’t feel like water bath canning this, you could store it in the fridge and eat it relatively quickly (which wouldn’t be too hard!). If you’re not familiar with canning, do it with a friend first and brush up on the essentials here.
3/4 cup water
1/8 cup bottled lemon juice
1.5 lbs apples, peeled cored and diced
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla bean paste
1. Combine the water and lemon juice in a stainless steel pan.
2. Peel, core and dice the apples small. Keep in mind that there’s no mashing or pureeing here. You should dice the apples to the size that you’d like them in the finished product.
3. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
4. Add sugar.
5. Bring the mixture back up to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
6. Ladle into hot, half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and secure lids.
7. Process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove and let sit undisturbed to cool completely. Check seals.