I heard about Pixie's, You Say Tomahto, I Say Tomayto and Rosie's, Rosie Bakes a ‘Peace’ of Cake blogging event. It's called Putting Up. How cute is that? What a perfect time to make my Strapple Sauce.
This has to be one of my all time favorite homemade canned goods. It is a combination of apple and stawberry sauce. There are no hard and fast rules to make it, just a few canning concepts need to be applied.
Here you can see the spot easily where you need to press.
Here in New York there are lots of great apples, before all you people in Washington say that you have the best, I will just say that in the North East, I think NY rules. The particular variety that I use here is Empire. We buy a lot of apples so I usually have plenty on hand. My husband eats five a day. That is his breakfast and lunch. Crazy, but hey he lost 40 pounds that way. OK back to that sauce. These particular Empires were getting sandy and yucky as we had them in the garage and the weather has become too warm for them. So you can use older apples but fresh is always better.
First core and peel all your apples. I quarter them to cook them down faster. Put your apples on a low heat with about a 1/4 cup of water to get them started. As they begin to heat you can put the heat up to a medium to medium high. Check and stir occassionally as the can stick to the bottom especially in the beginning. Once they melt you can put in your strawberries (Note: rasberries, mango and other fruits work as well). I had some strawberries in the freezer but you can use fresh of course. Depending on the tartness of the apples you chose, you can use sugar or not. I used none and they were perfectly sweet. Just make sure that you cook till the sugar is melted.
Blend in a food processor or blender. You can either have it kind of chunky or pureed smooth, your choice. My children don't like chunks. Spoon into jars, pints or quarts. Fill to 1/4 inch from top. Wipe away any sauce on jar rim, place lid and then screw top on jar. Place jars in large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and process for 15-20 minutes. "Process" in canning terms means boil. Remove jars from water, there is a special tool you can use for this. I place them on a cutting board and cover with a towel. I highly recommend the Ball Canning book for all the specifics on home canning. Although I am always open to suggestions for Canning and Preserving Books.
After some time, even over night, check the seals on your jars. Just press the top, if it has some give it is not properly canned. Refrigerate and use. If the lid does not have any give then you have a canned good, yeah! In the picture above you see where you need to press on the lid.
Don't be afraid of canning, it is so easy, really. You will be rewarded with a product with less sugar and salt than anything you can get on the market. Plus you are totally in control of the ingredients. The easiest and safest things to can are things with acid. The acid acts as a natural preservative. So things like, tomatoes, apples, vinegar or pickled goods, all of these are easy and relatively safe.