Stock up on produce for fall canning at final Vail Farmers’ Market, Oct. 2 | VailDaily.com

Stock up on produce for fall canning at final Vail Farmers’ Market, Oct. 2

VAIL — With the season drawing to a close, today is the last chance to stock up on fresh produce from the Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show to preserve for the fall and winter. For Tarrin Miller, co-owner of Harvest Colorado, that means putting away jars of homemade apple pie filling.

"Smelling freshly baked apples makes me think so much of my grandmother's kitchen during the holidays," she said. "It seemed like she was always pulling out an apple pie from the oven every time we were there. That means comfort to me. Nothing better."

Miller recommends using a firmer apple, such as Jonathan or Granny Smith, so the fruit does not break down during the canning process. If you use Galas or Golden Delicious, she said, shorten the boil time to 10 minutes.

"We rarely actually use this mixture as apple pie filling — I know, sounds crazy," Miller said. "But it is so fantastic poured over hot cinnamon rolls, over ice-cream, French toast, monkey bread, etc. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it."

Homemade apple pie filling

12 quarts apples, peeled, cored and chopped

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12 cups sugar

1 ¾ cup cornstarch, possibly more if filling mixture seems too runny

1 teaspoon nutmeg

4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon salt

5 quarts apple cider or juice

6 tablespoons lemon juice

Prepare the apples: This process takes the longest. Miller uses an apple peeler, corer and slicer that suctions to the counter. In order to keep the apples from browning, place them in a lemon juice-water mixture.

Mix the sugar cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt together in a large pot. Stir in the juice, and bring to a boil over medium heat, being careful not to scorch the bottom. Add apples and lemon juice. Stir well.

Add mixture to prepared canning jars. Fill them to ½ inch from the rim. Wipe rim of the jars to ensure an adequate seal. Place lids and rings on tightly. Place in water bath, and boil for 20 minutes.

1-quart jar of filling makes a 9-inch pie.

Chokecherry jelly/jam

Bruce and Wendy Bradley own Living Greens Colorado a small, artisanal, wild-crafting business that offers products from the resources of the desert and mountains of Colorado, including jellies, jams and syrups from wild-gathered flowers, fruits and plants.

They shared this recipe for chokecherry jam.

8 cups chokecherry juice for jelly or 8 cups chokecherry puree for jam (puree is the whole cooked fruit run through a hand-operated food mill)

8 cups sugar or up to 1 ¾ cups per cup of fruit, to taste (raw sugar works great; if less than 8 cups of sugar is used, then use low-sugar pectin)

¼ cup lemon juice

8 tablespoons Ball Classic Pectin

Bring the puree to a boil while stirring in the pectin; pectin should be stirred in before it boils. Boil for one minute. Add sugar in two doses. Bring to a rapid boil for one minute. Pour into washed and sterilized jars.

Jar according to jar instructions (follow high-altitude modifications, if needed).

Yields about 12 8-ounce jars.

Plum-almond jam

Lauren Smith, owner of Mountain Cupcakes, shared this recipe for plum-almond jam.

4 pounds plums, pitted and halved (approximately 6 pounds raw plums)

3 ½ cups sugar

4 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon almond extract

Place your pitted and halved plums and 1 cup of sugar into a stockpot. Bring to a boil, and cook until the plums are soft. Slowly transfer the contents of the pot through a food mill; this will separate the skin of the plum from the meaty part of the plum. Transfer contents back to stockpot.

Add lemon juice, cinnamon and almond extract (can be adjusted to taste, as needed). Bring back to a full boil and skim as much of the foam off the top as possible. (Note: the foam is really all of the preservatives in your fruit; it looks pretty but not so good for you.)

Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches the desired consistency (this can take a while). The best way to test your consistency is the frozen spoon method: Have a handful of spoons in the freezer, and add a bit of hot jam onto your frozen spoon. Put that jammy spoon back in the freezer until the bottom of the spoon has reached room temperature (a minute or two). Tilt the spoon, and watch the jam move. If it's the proper consistency, you're ready to jar your jam.

Jar according to jar instructions (follow high-altitude modifications, if needed).

Yields 4 to 6 pint jars.

If you go …

What: Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show.

When: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today.

Where: East Meadow Drive and International Bridge, Vail Village.

Cost: Admission is free.

More information: Visit http://www.vailfarmersmarket.com.