I did something a little bit different this year. I measured out twenty pounds of apples, added a half-gallon of cider and that is what I cooked down. In previous years I filled the kettle as full as it would go.
It struck me that the apples on top...you know, the ones farthest from the heat source, took much, much longer to cook. The top 1/4 took half the time.
My thinking was that our canner holds 8 quarts, so what if I cooked just enough apples in each batch to make eight quarts, plus a skoosh. Basically, I was cooking batches where the kettle was 3/4 full.
Three batches of 20 pounds yielded 26 quarts. Two are in the fridge since the canner only holds 8 quarts per load.
Oh, and the apples on top are purchased apples. By putting apples that cook down rapidly on top, I can speed the process even more. The apples you see are Empire and I purchased them at The Country Mill on Otto Road.
The apples on the bottom are ugly apples we picked on our property.