I have now officially used every single canning jar in the house.
Granted, much of this is tied up in various jam experiments. We could probably stop making jam now and not have to worry about it for the next four years. But it was our recent apple adventures that finally finished up our jar supply.
We went up to Dad’s house this weekend to do apple cider making. Dad had warned us that he didn’t have enough of a crop this year to justify getting out the equipment, so we did a serious picking in the neglected orchard near us the night before and went up with perhaps 30+ gallons of apples. That was a fun evening; Dave and I picked, Nathan contended with us constantly about who got to climb the ladder, and Ryan, convinced that he was unable to walk since we’d put him in (gasp!) shoes, collected every apple within his reach into a little apple-kleptomaniac hoard between his legs. I completely neglected to bring the camera.
I also forgot it when we did the apple crush and press up in Grapeview. Not that I had much opportunity to take pictures, since I was holding a child half the time and the other half of the time was inside, while Ryan napped and Nathan searched out toys for us to play with. Neither kid was fond of the noise of the crusher, and while Nathan was briefly excited about juice coming out from the press, he drank his fill and then wanted to move on. My memories, mostly formed when I was considerably older than Nathan, have apple cider making as one of the best events of the fall. I even remember liking the picking, which involved holding a corner of a sheet and leaning way back to avoid being hit by the apples being shaken down from above.
In any case, it’s a good thing that we picked the neglected orchard, because Dad wasn’t kidding about the state of his crop. And it’s actually a good thing that we waited so late in October to do it, because the apples were stupendous. The apple juice that we got out of it — 14 gallons just for us — is magnificent. Dave took half of that for a wine experiment, which, considering the starting material, could be really, really good. The other half went into 27 quart jars, a pitcher, some mugs of hot spiced cider, and Apple-Glazed BBQ Chicken. Curried Cider-Braised Pork Cutlets is next week.
Along with our juice we brought a crate of the biggest and nicest apples for another batch of applesauce. This I managed to almost fit into our remaining pint jars, with the leftovers stuffed directly into people, particularly kids. Miracle of miracles, Ryan has done an about-face and decided that he likes applesauce after all. I had to sneak the first taste into his mouth, but once he got a good smear onto his tongue he paused for several seconds and then became a convert.