20 Stayman-Winesap apples (or other firm, sweet apples)
10 cups water
4 cups sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
6 vanilla beans
12 whole star anise
12 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons whole cloves
Prep 6 quart jars. Evenly divide the spices between the jars. Peel, core and slice the apples. Float them in water mixed with Fruit Fresh or lemon juice, to help retain their color. Meanwhile, bring the sugar, and water to a rolling boil. Add the apple slices. Boil for 5 minutes. Do not let it reduce. Pour the hot syrup and apples into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Run a knife or a jar scraper to dislodge any bubbles while turning the jar slightly. Seal. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
Notes: I found some great long cinnamon sticks at Costco. They were the perfect size for the quart jars and quite inexpensive. This is a great recipe to use up vanilla beans that are slightly dried up. I buy them in bulk online and occasionally they get a bit tough before I am able to use them all.
You all know about my Stayman-Winesap love if you have been readers during pretty much any fall. They are just a great, crisp not-too-sweet apple. We bought a whole bushel of them and while I was making great headway for a while there, we started to slow down and still had some apples left. I figured, why not can them? Even if they didn’t work out, at least I tried and didn’t just toss them in our compost bin. As it turned out, canning these apple was a success. They were infused with spice and allowed me to use them in any recipe that called for applesauce (by pureeing them) and were wonderful over yogurt and served on ice cream. You could even use the leftover syrup to sweeten a drink. Talk about a win-win-win.