Spiced Apple Rings

Based on the recipe for Apple Wedges in Cinnamon Red Hot Syrup in the ever cheap and useful Ball Blue Bookof Preserving.
Yield: about 10 - 12 pints

8 - 10 pounds apples
3 cups sugar
1 cup cinnamon red hot candies
4 sticks cinnamon
4 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp ginger
4 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 cups water
3 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2/3 cups light corn syrup
2/3 cups honey
red food coloring optional (I go without - the Red Hots have plenty)

Wash, core and peel apples.  Cut apples lengthwise into eighths. I wanted my apples to be rings with skin still on, so I removed the cores and simply sliced the apples. Treat slices to prevent darkening with lemon juice, commercial ascorbic acid or a combination of ascorbic and citrus acids. There is a product called Fruit Fresh you may like - I just tossed my apple slices with lemon juice.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large stockpot and bring slowly to a boil.  Drain apple wedges. Add wedges to syrup mixture cover and simmer 4 minutes.**

Pack hot apples into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Ladle hot syrup over apples, again leaving 1/2 inch head space. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar mouths clean. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Also, the Blue Ball Book specifies 15 minutes in the boiling water canner, where the National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends 20. More is safer, but remember your fruit will continue to soften and cook in the jar. Since I like my apples tender-crisp, I went for the 15 minutes.  Fear of botulism may cause you to go for 20 - I tend to be a little fearless that way...

** Be very attentive here - the apples should retain some crispness and will continue to soften in the hot water bath. Better to under cook than over cook, my preference and opinion of course.

One last note - I let my cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns float freely in the syrup.  You can also put these inside a jelly bag and discard before ladling  your liquid into the jars if you prefer.  I will do this next time - it makes the apples more versatile. When I made relish from the apples, I had to spend too much time picking out all the sticky cloves and peppercorns....