Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spiked Apples

     We rustic types love to preserve our own food. Fortunately for us, our in-laws both have access to apple trees. Each year, they bring us somewhere around eighty pounds of apples over the course of the season. One of our favorite ways to process them is to can them in syrup and booze. The original formula came out of the Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cookbook. We found it was great fun to use bourbon or other liquor in place of some of the liquid in these recipes. If you don't want to use booze, just swap water back in. Depending on the booze, the flavor will change dramatically. With regular bourbon, the apples are sweet and mellow. When I use an herbal liquor like Elisir M.P. Roux, the herbals really come through in the apples. No matter how you make them, they're great. We use them in cakes, on pancakes, over vanilla ice cream or just straight out of the jar! Since this recipe does involve boiling water canning, as always, please refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation for tips on how to prevent giving everyone the green apple splatters. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Spiked Apples

  • 3 pounds of apples for each quart you intend to make
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup booze (pick your favorite. I use Jim Beam for my bourbon apples and Elisir M.P. Roux for my herbal elixir apples. I imagine cinnamon or honey whiskey would be outstanding, too).
  • 6-8 whole cloves per quart
  1. Prepare a boiling water canner. Load your empty jars in while the water is boiling so they will be hot and clean when you go to use them.
  2. Wash, peel and core the apples. (Cut the apples however you want. I use small apples which I cut into wedges) Load them in a bowl with some color keeper so they don't brown.
  3. In a large pot, add liquid and sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring syrup to boil.
  4. Add apples to syrup and boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Lower heat on the apples to a simmer and load the hot apples into the jars (yes, take the jars out of the canner and empty the water first, you goof. If I find out anybody was trying to fill the jars while they were still in the canner, I'm going to be very upset). Add the cloves to the jar. Cover with hot syrup, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Secure with a clean lid and ring. Load into the canner. 
  6. Process for 20 minutes (20 minutes is fine for either pints or quarts)
  7. Remove jars to a wire rack with about 1" between them. Wait a while until you hear the satisfying thunk of the jar sealing. If you don't hear it after a few hours, you can either run it through another water bath and try again or just put them in the fridge for immediate devouring.
Good times!


  1. Hi there.......stopping in from Let's Get Real today. I just had to check out what you have been cooking up. Preserving apples in this way sounds like a great way to be prepared for desserts to impress all year round.