Unfortunately, our apple orchard is still too young to produce fruit. But, in the next few years, we will have more apples than we’ll be able to eat, so we decided to learn to can them beforehand.
We decided to make brandied apples using our pressure cooker. You should NOT use a pressure canner to can any liquor unless you cook some of the alcohol off beforehand. We had to do this. We boiled our brandy “juice” for almost 30 minutes in order to cook off the alcohol, but leave the apples with a slight flavor of the liquor.
We did make a kid version of these apples as well. Even though a lot of the alcohol will cook off the brandy during the canning process, we wanted some that were completely alcohol-free. Boiling the brandy beforehand will remove most of the alcohol while leaving a taste of the brandy to the apples. It is suggested to NOT pressure can with liquors unless you boil off some of the alcohol first (which we did.) Do your own research and be safe! If you are uncomfortable doing something, do NOT DO IT!
W started with 15 lbs of apples, but only had sterilized jars to hold about 12lbs. We used organic Honeycrisp and Gala apples. We did not blanch the apples first, but that was a personal decision. If you choose to do that step, by all means, do it! It can help prevent browning and oxidation of your apples before you can them.
Make sure you sanitize your jars, lids, and bands. I put them all alone in the dishwasher and use the “sanitize” option, but handwashing in hot water will also work.
We started by washing the apples and having the kids run the peeler/corer. Then we cut the apples into wedges. We put them in the jars but had a few too many wedges in two of the jars. We didn’t leave enough “headspace” and had some leaking, but lesson learned! Those are great in pies, however, so don’t waste them or toss those apples out! Just repurpose those into a pie.
Making the Brandy-Infused Juice
For the juice for about 12 pounds of apples, we used:
- 3 cups of brandy
- 9-15 cups of water
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 2-3 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups organic raw coconut sugar
- allspice and ground nutmeg to taste
- 19 whole cloves
We boiled this mixture for almost 30 minutes, then strained out the cloves and cinnamon sticks, then added those to the kids’ mixture (recipe below). We poured the mixture into the jars. (We has to add a little water to each jar because 9 cups were not enough. We likely boiled some off while making sure we boiled off some of the alcohol from the brandy.) Then we used our pressure canner to can the apples. See the video for the settings we used. We went with the manufactures suggestion in the owner’s manual for canning fruits.
Kid-Friendly Canned Apples
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup organic raw coconut sugar (this stuff is a low glycemic index food, and great for those on a keto diet)
- 4 cups apple cider
- the cinnamon sticks and cloves strained from the brandy mixture
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 Tablespoon allspice
- 1/2 Tablespoon of nutmeg
- 6-8 cups of water
We did boil this mixture before we put it in the jars as well. We strained off the cinnamon sticks and the cloves too and canned with the same pressure (9lbs) for the same amount of time as the brandied apples.
Try to make this if you’d like! They are really good, and if you make a mistake like we did and don’t leave enough headspace, make those into pies! They are really good in pastries and baked goods like pies, strudels, topped on warm brie for appetizers, and even in apple cakes, and that way you are not wasting any of your food.