Monday, September 26, 2016

Easy (Homemade) Canned Apple Pie Filling

This is the time of year for delicious ripe apples!

They’ve soaked up the last rays of summer sun. Now they wait for us in the trees, delicious, crunchy and sweet!

We had such a great time with friends the other day when we went to a local farm to pick apples! And, while apples kept in the refrigerator can keep for up to many months, I still found myself with an abundance of apples after our enthusiastic picking session.

Photo Credit

One easy thing to do with apples (to make them last all year) is to make canned apple pie filling.
Then store it away for anytime that you want a warm homemade apple pie!
It’s so easy! Just open the jar, dump the apple mixture into a pie crust and bake!

Here’s how I made mine:


6 lbs apples

3 cups white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup cornstarch
*or (if you have it) it's better to use: 1 cup ClearJel® (a cooking starch used for preserving)

1 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice

1-1/2 cups cold water

1 cup lemon juice (divided into two halves)

About 10 cups water (for sterilizing) 

Materials needed:

You can purchase an entire canning set inexpensively:

Or, if you already have a large pot (tall enough to cover jars with 1" water) then all you will need is the accessories:

Mason Jars (the larger quart size)

Cute Labels:

And, while not necessary, this little gadget will save you a lot of time!

I used Granny Smith and (a few Gala) apples for this project. Generally tart/ green apples work the best for baking.

Also, in case you are not able to weigh your apples, note that 1 pound (of apples) is equal to about 3 medium-sized apples. So, for this recipe you will need about 18 medium sized apples. If your apples are large of small, you can simply adjust the amount accordingly. One nice thing is that it doesn't need to be exact!


-Start by sterilizing 6 quart size jars and lids. I just run mine through the dishwasher (on steam setting).

-You can also sterilize by washing them with soap and water and putting them in the oven at 215 degrees (for a minimun of 15 minutes). You can even leave them in the oven until you are ready to take them out. Also, sterilize the metal rims and lid by boiling them for about 5 minutes. Use the metal magnet tool to remove them from the hot water and place a clean surface (like a clean dishtowel).

-Peel apples. For fun, I like to see if I can peel the whole thing in one continuos spiral! For me a small sharp steak knife works the best.

-Next, core and slice apples. Make slices about 1/2 inch thick, or use the tool linked to above. While I worked I sealed, freshly cut apples in plastic bags so that they would not turn brown.

-Blanch apple slices. Working with about 6 cups at a time, submerse apples in a large pot of boiling water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm in a covered bowl. This will sterilize them and help prevent browning.


-Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and salt in large pot (but not the pot you will use for canning later).

-Add cold water and apple juice. Cook on high heat, stirring frequently at first and then constantly until it boils. Let it boil for about a minute, at this point it should be nice and thick. Stir in 1/2 cup lemon juice.

-Add apple pieces, and stir to combine.

-If it won't all fit in the one pot, you can mix more sauce and apples together in a regular mixing bowl. But, ideally you want the apples evenly coated and warmed by the sauce.

-Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.

--Remove air bubbles, one of the tools is made for this purpose. Swirl it around the outer edges of each jar to remove bubbles.

-Wipe rims/ edges with a clean cloth or paper towel.

-Center lids on jars. Apply bands until the fit is fingertip tight. Take care not to over tighten them.

     **An alternate method (I have not tried this) is to NOT mix apples and sauce together first. Instead pack apples in jars and fill jars with sauce just to the bottom rung of the mouth of the jar. Use a wooden spoon to push the apples down. Do NOT fill them any higher! 

-Process jars in hot water bath for 25 minutes. To so this, submerse jars in a boiling water canner (or your large pot, with at least an inch of water above the lids) for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.

-Remove jars (using grasping tool) and cool.

-You will know they are sealing when you here the center of the lids make a "pop" noise.

-Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
If it pushes down, it didn't seal. I've never had this happen. So far, they always seal right away. But if any of them don't seal, then just refrigerate for up to a few days and use immediately to make a pie.

-To make mine extra cute, I like to first shine the lids and jars with a rag and white vinegar. Then I add a cute label to the lid, writing what it contains and the date. For added flair add a cute bow around the rim too!

-Then store in a cool place (I just use a lower kitchen cupboard) for up to a year and enjoy!

Image Credit
Also, these jars of canned apple pie filling make great gifts! Tie a cute bow around the top and this makes for the perfect festive hostess gift! I like to keep several on hand for the holiday season.

That's all, happy cooking and thanks for stopping by!

If you STILL have apples to use, you might enjoy these other fun tutorials!

Dried Apple Garland Tutorial

Homemade Apple Sauce

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