A rosemary, thyme, and pepper syrup makes these homemade canned apples way more delicious than any spiced apples you can buy at the store. Try canning apples at the end of harvest so you can enjoy a taste of fall any time of year.
Fill two large bowls half full with cold water. Squeeze the juice from one lemon half into each bowl of water. Peel, core, and cut apples into 3/4-inch wedges, placing wedges in the lemon-water as you slice them to prevent browning.
For syrup, in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot combine the 4 cups water, sugar, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Drain apples; add apples and onion to syrup in pot. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a slotted spoon, pack hot apples and onion into hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over apples and onion, maintaining the 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids and screw bands.
Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on wire racks. Makes 6 pints.