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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Loads of Apples

In my never ending quest to save money and supply my family with healthy, yummy food, I joined a produce co op.  Sounds crazy - but so far the kids are loving it.  Earlier this month I bought a case of apples.  Even crazier than the joining a co op - huh?  I thought it was a good idea.  A case of apples for about $30.  

I have learned in the past that if I clean, core and slice fresh fruit, and have it waiting in the refrigerator, it doesn't last long.  So, the first thing I did was slice about a dozen apples, drizzle a little lemon juice over top (to prevent browning) and put them in the fridge.  Those didn't last a day. 

Not bad.  A dozen fiber filled fruits gone into my children's bellies.

Now, what do I do with the rest?  There are tons of recipes.  However, these are gala apples.  Most recipes call for something more crisp, a bit more sweet.
Then I found an apple pie filling recipe that uses any kind of apple.  We love apple pie!  The girls learned how to make hand pies over the summer, and I love making sausage and apples when I don't have a lot of time to cook.  This particular recipe (I wish I could remember where I saw it!  Pinterest maybe?) didn't can the filling, but froze it.  This was perfect for me since I have not tried canning yet - but my freezer is always full!

Apple Pie Filling
§  24 cups sliced and peeled apples (6-7 lbs)
§  3 Tablespoons lemon juice
§  2 cups brown sugar
§  2 ½ cups white sugar
§  1 – 1 ½  cups cornstarch
§  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
§  1 teaspoon salt
§  ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
§  10 cups water

Warning – you need to either cut this in half or use a very large pot.  When I say large I mean it needs to hold 2-3 gallons of food.  I use my turkey roaster (it’s like a super-sized crock pot).
In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice; set aside.  In your very large pot over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add your water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add apples; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Scoop into freezer bags, leaving about ½ inch at the top.  Cool for about an hour, and freeze.
Hint:  When freezing gallon size bags, lay the bags flat.  You can fit a lot more into the fridge that way.

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