An old fashioned holiday tradition, these spiced apples eschew artificial food coloring and look fabulous in tall canning jars. Choose firm fleshed apples such as Gala, Ambrosia, or Granny Smith.
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Heat the brine to a bare simmer, then cover.
Cut a thin slice from top and bottom of each apple. Core the apples and cut 3 or 4 thick, horizontal slices from each apple; dip in apple juice.
Put spice of your choice in the BOTTOM of the jar; be sparing! Stack apples in the jar, allowing room for hot liquid to circulate; insert the cinnamon stick through the centre of the apples. Pour hot liquid over; fill to within 1/8 inch of the top of the jar—barest headspace.*
Gently push down between apple and jar with a spatula or skewer to loosen any air bubbles. Clean jar rim, put hot sealer lid on and hand-tighten ring. Place in canner, bring to full rolling boil for 15 minutes (10 minutes at sea level). Add some cool water to canner; wait 5 minutes and gently remove jars.
*most canning recipes insist on 1/4-1/2 inch headspace. This recipe uses a firm apple and a cold-pack; the apples will release air during the canning process and produce the desired headspace in the finished product. The key is to be very careful in lifting the hot jars from the canner—do not lift immediately after boiling or handle the hot jars roughly.