My first project was applesauce. I peeled and cored and peeled and cored and cooked them all down to a yummy, slightly chunky applesauce. I did not use any sweetener, just spices. It was plenty sweet without anything else, and I kind of like the thought of eating applesauce and knowing it is 100% pure apple.
Next, on to apple butter. I don't have a picture of that, but once I get the jars decorated, I will get one up. The apple butter came out really sweet and yummy and is good on toast, biscuits, ice cream, and anything else you can think of! I bought burlap and plaid homespun fabric on sale that I'm going to use to doll up the jars.
Last, I really wanted to make an apple pie filling. I had a link sent to me of this great recipe for canning. I got all excited, because it was really simple and was going to make awesome Christmas gifts. But then I read that I needed this stuff called Ultra Gel to help thicken the sauce for the pie filling. Supposedly corn starch is not safe to use in things that you want to can, so they suggest Ultra Gel, which is a modified corn starch. Well, of course I was not able to find the Ultra Gel in any stores around here, and having it shipped in wasn't going to work since I needed to use up the apples. I ended up getting freezer bags and making a pie filling with corn starch.
The bags of pie filling flatten out and making storing in my tiny freezer manageable. I haven't tried baking with it yet, but we will see how it turns out. It looks, smells, and tastes fabulous, so I'm assuming there won't be any problems.
It took me days to use up all the apples, but it was worth all the time and effort. Canning takes a lot of time, but in the end it is great to look at all the jars of goods you have stocked in your pantry. :) The reason I got drops was because they are considerably cheaper. There's no way I was walking away from that orchard with 2 bushels of apples picked from the tree. I spent $18 on all the apples, and am content with the many ways I was able to use them!
By the way, salt water is the bomb. I'll tell you why. It keeps your sliced apples beautiful while you are peeling and coring. I always thought I needed to use lemon juice, but salt water is awesome for this.
This is the recipe I used for the pie filling. http://www.howtobaker.com/recipes/pies-cobblers-recipes/freezer-apple-pie-filling/