Canning apple pie filling at home is a great way to preserve the harvest and have homemade dessert in the pantry. Best of all it’s easy project for beginner and experienced canners alike.
Homemade apple filling is more frugal than store bought and can be customized for your family’s individual tastes. Spices can be changed, more or less sugar can be used.
Best of all this same water bath canning recipe can also be apple pie filling to freeze if canning isn’t your thing or if you’ve run out of jars this preservation season.
Apples to Use
There are lists of apples that make better pie or sauce for example. However, as a person with a large apple tree right in my yard, I just use what I have available. Use whatever you have on hand or enjoy most.
To Peel or Not to Peel
I use a apple peeler and corer machine to make the process easy and quick. However, you could simply core and slice the apples leaving the peels on. The peeler does sometimes skip or miss the top and bottom. I leave those and don’t worry about it.
This is completely a personal decision. Feel free to cut off every piece of peel or leave them on completely.
Leaving the peels on means you won’t win a blue ribbon at the fair. If that’s important do a batch without peels.
Do cut out any bad spots, bruises, bug bites, etc. I use organic apples there are plenty in mine but taking the time to clean up those bad spots will give you a better final product.
Treating for Browning or Not
Apples brown fairly quickly after peeling. Most canning books and websites will tell you to treat them for browning.
To treat apples for browning, you have several options:
Ascorbic acid: you can buy this like ‘Fruit Fresh’ right in the grocery store. Follow package directions but usually it is 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid dissolved in 1 gallon of water.
Lemon Juice: add ¼ cup lemon juice to 4 cups of water.
Simply add slices to water and remove with a slotted spoon to keep the fruit from turning brown.
Let me be honest and say that I skip this all the time. Yes the fruit browns while it sits, however; once it heats up in the pots and jars the color returns. Again, personal decision do what works for you.
This recipe only includes cinnamon. However, you could switch it up.
Use a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Ginger and apples is a lovely combination.
Skip the spice entirely in the canning process and add it when you bake with it later, if desired.
Use up to 5 1/2 cups of sugar in the recipe. I generally use less because it simply doesn’t need to be that sweet in my opinion.
The sugar doesn’t do the preserving the canning process does so it is still safe. Less sugar, does mean that the syrup isn’t as going to go as far, however; keep this in mind as you make your recipe.
The recipe included here uses 4 cups of sugar and still made exactly 6 quarts.
Grandma probably canned her apple pie filling using flour or cornstarch. The thing is flour and cornstarch are not approved for home canning. Flour and cornstarch will likely breakdown in the homecanning process.
For these reasons, this recipe uses clearjel a modified cornstarch that is approved and stable in the home canning process.
Quarts or Pints
A quart jar is the minimum necessary to make a 9” pie, in my opinion. However, you could can this apple pie filling in pints. Follow the same instructions in the recipe.
Wide mouth canning jars will be easier to pour out the thick apple pie filling when you’re ready to bake. However, regular mouth jars will obviously work just use a spatula to get it out of the jar.
How to Use Canned Apple Pie Filling
Obviously, use it in a pie. Simply line a pie plate with a homemade pie crust add the apple pie filling, top with another pastry and bake as usual.
Dress up the homemade apple pie filling by adding a cup of raisins or dried cranberries and mix it up with the filling before putting into the pie crust.
Make hand pies or apple turnovers with pie crust and apple pie filling. Bake as usual.
Use it for an apple crisp. Simply pour the pie filling into the bottom of a greased pie plate and top with your favorite crumble or crisp topping. Bake as usual.
Mix the apple pie filling into cooked oatmeal or yogurt for a special treat. Top pound cake or ice cream with the filling for extra flavor.
- Get the water bath canner ready, start heating the water, and prepare jars, lids, and rings.
- Boil the apple slices for 1 minute. Do this in several batches. Remove the slices from the pot and keep in a towel covered bowl to keep warm.
- In a heavy pot (one that won't scorch), combine the sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon, water, and apple juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until mixture thickens and bubbles.
- Add the lemon juice to the sugar mixture and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
- Drain the apple slices (don't add any extra water). Add the apple slices and stir to coat. Cook until the apples are heated through.
- Fill the jars with the apple pie filling leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Wipe rims, secure lids, and rings.
- Process in boiling water canner for 25 minutes (adjusting for elevation).
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 7mg Carbohydrates: 56g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 51g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 0g