When I was a young child, I remember a family favorite that we enjoyed each Christmas season. They were called "Christmas Apples and Pears." This special treat was so named because of their red and green coloring.
Grandma would can apple rings or pears in jars, some with red food coloring and others with green. By Christmas, the coloring had been absorbed into the fruit turning the fruit the prettiest shades of red and green! Here is a recipe for the spices apples. If you want to do pears instead, use a firm pear, peeled and cut in half.
Spiced Christmas Apples
12 pounds firm tart apples, no more than 2 1/2-inch diameter
12 cups sugar
6 cups water
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
3 tb whole cloves
3/4 cup red hot cinnamon candies or 8 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon red food coloring, optional (See note below)
Wash apples. Peel and slice one apple at a time. Immediately cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, remove core area with a melon baller and immerse in ascorbic acid solution to keep the apples from discoloring. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine sugar, water, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon candies, or cinnamon sticks and food coloring. Stir, heat to boil, and simmer 3 minutes. Drain apples, add to hot syrup, and cook 5 minutes. Fill wide mouth sterilized canning jars with apple rings and hot flavored syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations below. Makes about 8 pints.
Recommended process time for Spiced Apple Rings in a boiling-water canner.
Style of Pack: Hot. Jar Size: Half-Pints or Pints.
Process Time at Altitudes of 0 - 1,000 ft: 10 min.
1,001 - 6,000 ft: 15 min.
Above 6,000 ft: 20 min.