We love apples and try to can some every year for our pantry. This year was the first time we lived near an apple orchard, so we went apple picking. It was fun and I must say apple picking is way easier than blueberry picking. It may take 1 hour to get 15lbs of blueberries, but it only takes 3.5 seconds to get 15lbs. of apples.
The apples pictured are about 50lbs of apples we picked on a Saturday. We had so much fun, we went back the next day and got another 50lbs.! Most of them sat in my kitchen for two weeks as we took a trip to New Hampshire to visit the great grandparents. Once I got back home I decided it was high time I get to work and start putting up the abundance. Apple pie filling is one of the first things I normally can with apples. My goal is always 12 quarts, for one pie each month of the year!
When canning anything, you must follow the directions carefully and do not make substitutions unless you are a long time canner and know all the in’s and out’s of the process. Omitting an ingredient can change the process time or how that particular food needs to be processed (say in a water bath or pressure canner).
Canning apple pie filling gives you homemade pies to tuck away in your pantry for when you want a quick dessert without all the hassle and mess making a pie from scratch each and every time can create. Don’t have time for baking? Simply divide the pie filling into bowls and top with whipped cream for a quick but very satisfying dessert or use your apple pie filling for a ice cream topping. Pie filling can also be added to a bowl of oatmeal for a truly indulgent breakfast.
When you want to make a pie, simple open a jar and pour the entire contents into one pie shell, top with another pie crust or a crumb topping and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done.
This recipe assumes you have basic canning knowledge. This apple filling recipe is quite easy with minimal ingredients.
- 40 cups of apples, peeled and sliced (about 10 quarts)
- 6 1/2 cups sucanat, rapadura, sugar or brown sugar (I use sucanat, but any of these will work)
- 1 1/2 cups Clear Jel*
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 14 cups water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- In a large pot add the apples, sugar, clear jel, spices/salt, and water. Cook over medium/medium high heat until hot, stirring occasionally to make sure the apples on the bottom do not burn.
- Add lemon juice once apples are cooked and hot, stir to mix well.
- While apples are cooking sterilize quart jars, and prepare lids and rings.
- Once the apple mixture is hot, fill quart jars will apple filling only to the neck of the jar, you want a generous 1 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims of the jars clean, place lids and bands on, tighten, and place into a water bath canner.
- Process 20 minutes, makes 12 quarts.
*You can omit the Clear Jel if preferred. If you do omit the Clear Jel, your filling will not thicken, can it as the recipe describes. Once you are ready to fill a pie, open the jar, add 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch or arrow root powder, cap jar and shake vigorously to incorporate the starch into the apples. Then pour the entire contents into one pie shell, the filling will thicken as it cooks. **Clear Jel is the only approved starch for canning.