Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Spiced Sliced Apples

I found this wonderful recipe two weeks ago while doing my "morning internet thing" and I thought it would be perfect for our Tea for Tuesday theme for National Hot Tea Month.

Hopefully, you checked it out!  First of all, Food in Jars is an amazing site - I love that someone else is as crazy about canning as much as I am.  Second, if you are looking for something really fancy, spiced fruit in a jar will look so gourmet, tres chic, c'est bon!  Marisa has put together a cookbook, too, and if you are interested, you can pre-order it from Amazon.

And you know I can't let sleeping dogs lie when I find a recipe.  This was no exception.  I don't like quince, so I knew that had to go.  We had apples on hand, and some pears we received for Christmas.

It's a simple syrup like we used to make Peppermint Syrup, but with 1/2 c. less sugar, if you want to make it from scratch.  I happened to have some Chai concentrate on hand.  It's already a simple syrup with the tea infused.

So let me put on my "Food Safety Inspector" hat (just one of many in my collection), and give you some IMPORTANT INFORMATION.  The best way to prevent the spread of food-borne illness is to use temperature - cold things cold, hot things hot.  This means if you don't feel like hauling out your canning equipment because you already put it in the back of a jam-packed closet, keep your finished product REFRIGERATED, and use it quickly.  Like within a week.  If your canning equipment is easily accessible because all your Christmas decorations are out of the way, use proper hot process procedures - wash and sterilize your jars and keep them hot (I put them in a 250 degree oven on cookie sheets with the rings); heat your food items; and process jars for the recommended time in whatever recipe you may be using.  Wash lids with hot soapy water and keep them in a pot of hot water.  Also, when you are doing anything hot process, your supplies will be hot.  Be careful!

Now, let's get started:

SPH Spiced Sliced Apples
5 apples, peeled and uniformly sliced, about 1/4" thick
5 pears, peeled and uniformly sliced, about 1/4" thick
2 cups apple cider
2 cups Oregon Chai (brand) Original Chai Concentrate (the liquid stuff - not the powder)
2 cups sugar

Slice apples.  Put the slices in a crockpot and cover with cider, chai and sugar.  Allow to poach til tender, about 2 hours.  Pour syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, funnel slices into prepared jars. Top with syrup. Remove air bubbles and adjust syrup levels (1/2" headspace). Wipe rims and apply lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

My recipe made about 4 half-pint jars and a quarter-pint jar.  We also had lots of the "syrup" leftover, which was wonderful to drink plain or mixed with more apple cider.  The fruit had a really nice spice - good overtones of cinnamon, but with that little "something" extra in the finish.  They would make a lovely accompaniment to a pork dish, canned or straight from the crockpot.  I'm thinking they'd also be pretty tasty over some vanilla ice cream or pancakes.

Use your tea in a new and different way, and enjoy!

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