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I had always been a city girl who bought her beans and tomatoes at the grocery store. They came in cans and I had no idea how they got there. One day I made a discovery and saw beans and tomatoes and lots of other things grow right out in a field. I knew it before, of course, but it had never been something I thought about. I suddenly lived in a community-like bunch of farms where all the folk went to the same church and were really neighbors.
I inherited a group of the nicest women. Some were like mothers and others like grandmothers. I also found out how much food is left over when you grow it and can it for your family. I began getting those left overs. Someone came to my door and wanted to share. I said thank you. Then I stood back and stared at the bushels of food one neighbor brought in. I didn't even recognize some of it. It soon became obvious that I had to do something with this food.
I called one of those neighbors and asked what to do and became a student of an experienced canner. Just like so much food, I inherited more and more teachers and more food. I got a college degree in canning that fall. Let me share what I learned.
Note: Canning jars have been around forever. You might find some in an attic or a basement. Make sure the jars don't belong to your great, great grandma. In 1989 there were some new rules and materials that became a part of the mason jar to make for less breakage and safer canning. (Special note: If you do find old Mason jars, you might want to check e-bay or an antique store, I understand that old Mason jars are going for enough that one should get you a new case of jars.)
There are many kinds of apples. If you are going to can many, I would suggest you go to a farmer's market or orchard. The best thing you can do for success is talk to the people who grow the apples. In different parts of the country, you find different kinds of apples. Not only are there eating apples, but there are different types of cooking apples you will want to be aware of for canning. If you want pie, you will want to question your seller about which apples are best. Some apples are best for applesauce and apple butter. If you want to can slices for pie or fried apples, you will want to mix your types of apples.
Most apples will need a light syrup for the canning. Apples are sweet enough not to need much sugar. You probably wouldn't want to can Granny Smith apples. They are very green and very tart. Delicious red and yellow are not recommended for canning.
Wash the jars in very hot, soapy water. Rinse well and keep warm. If you have a dishwasher, they can be placed in there on a heated cycle until you are ready to fill them.
Fill the canner so the water will be 1 inch over the top of the jars. Bring the water to a boil as you prepare apples.
An apple peeler can be found on the internet or a kitchen store. One type has a vice to hold it steady on a table or counter. Another type has suction to hold it in place. It is easily moved to another location for peeling. Turning the wheel on these peelers is easier and faster than using a knife or a vegetable peeler. You can find an apple peeler and corer on Amazon. It has handles on each side that are covered to ease the hands and help to bring the blades down evenly.
To keep any fruit from turning brown once it is cut, either Fresh Fruit or a little lemon juice in the water will help that problem.
After rinsing the apples in the Fresh Fruit, you need to cook the first batch of apples in a light simple syrup. Bring the apples to boil in simple syrup for 5 minutes. Pack apples in jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 20 minutes. (Keep water boiling the whole time. If water gets below jars, add boiling water to canner. )
Remove jars from canner and set on towel on counter. Set the jar upright. You will want to check tops to be sure that the seal is holding. If it isn't firmly on the jar, refrigerate after it cools and eat within 2 days.
Properly sealed jars should last for more than 12 months.
Place apples in bottom of pie pan, sprinkle cake mix over apples, and slice slivers of butter over all. Bake at 350 degree F for 1/2 hour.