Sunday, September 8, 2013

Homemade Canned Apple Pie Filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling

Canned Apple Pie Filling and Extra Syrup
I never really understood the mystique behind canning and why folks thought it so difficult! In our family, canning was a natural process of fall and the harvest, and I have been doing this for the past 30 years or more with various levels of success. My latest foray into canning included making apple pie filling for the first time. Any time I make something for the very first time is a joyous mix of experimenting and trepidation as I love to 'tweak' recipes. Fortunately, judging by the quality of the apple pie we made using the canned filling, the operation was a success :) Just sweet enough, thick with apples and full of taste. 


When you can, a lot of success comes with preparation. I tend to reuse throughly washed and sterilized jars, which, since I keep my canning in the fridge, is fine and dandy. They still seal solidly and provide a cost-effective means of canning. First thing is to sterlize the jars and lids/rings. You can do this in the dishwasher, if your heated dry setting is working (ours wasn't) or you can use the boil 'boil the jars and lids' method, which I was forced to do. Make sure they are submerged and boil for at least a minute, to make sure they are clean. When done, use a lifter or tongs to pick them out of the water and set them, upside down, on a clean towel on a counter. I usually heat them again by pouring in boiling water just before filling, to ensure the filling doesn't crack the jar.

  • 6 lbs apples (I used the equivalent of 18 apples since they were fresh picked)
  • 1 c brown sugar and 3 c white sugar (I prefer a mix)
  • 1 c cornstarch (call me a traditionalist and yes, jars are refrigerated, so...)
  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp cinnamon (we like cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (it adds that certain 'something')
  • approx. 9 1/2 c cold water (some like a mixture of apple juice and water)
  • 3 tbsp plus 3 tbsp Realemon (for 2 different steps)

  1. Peel, core and slice apples. Yes this can be tedious if you are old-fashioned like me and don't have a corer or apple peeler, but it's worth it, just wait and see. Drop apples as cut into a big bowl filled with cold water and 3 tbsp lemon juice.
  2. In a large non-aluminium pot, mix sugars, cinnamon, cloves and cornstarch. Add salt and water and mix well. Bring to boil until thick and bubbly (be patient and keep stirring. Like I said, it's worth it). Remove from heat and add 3 tbsp lemon juice. This makes the "syrup."
  3. Get ready to start packing the jars: Making sure they are hot, stuff with some drained apples (just gently squeeze them over the sink) and pack down. Add some syrup, and repeat until jars are filled to within 1 inch of top. Run a knife around the edges and gently tap jars on countertops to remove air bubbles that would cause the apples to rise. Wipe off jars and put on the lids. Continue til all jars are full and ready to process. 
  4. Can the left-over syrup for addings when making pies, to use with pancakes or waffles or to make apple crisp/brown betty, if desired.
  5. Place jars in a bath of boiling water, letting them boil for about 20 minutes. I like to start the water and put in the jars to make sure the water doesn't spill over. They can sit in there while the water comes to a boil. 
  6. Voila, beautiful canned apples!
The boiling water bath filled with jars of pie filliing and syrup

TRUE CONFESSIONS: I added the lemon juice before boiling the apple pie syrup and it didn't hurt anything! I also didn't blanch the apples like some recipes suggest and they tasted just fine-- a bit crispy like we prefer them. When packing the jars, I got excited and firmly packed them all, then had to run a fork and knife around and stab middle of the apples to add the syrup. The good thing was that the apples didn't rise and the jars weren't filled with just syrup and no apples! That meant I will add some additional syrup on top of the pies before putting on the top crusts, like I did when I made the one the other evening. The recipe made 4 LARGE jars of apple pie filling, enough for 6 pies. *Sigh* I never said I was perfect and let that be a lesson to all of you who think things have to be "perfect" in the kitchen!

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