Early this week I picked two big buckets of various sized apples, late apples from our old apple trees. I had so many that I decided to try canning some apple pie filling. The trees haven’t been cared for in several years, so I had to cut out spots and worm holes from a lot of the apples. I canned seven quarts of pie filling and had a lot left over.
Here’s what the pie filling looked like after processing.
As I peeled and sliced the apples, I measured them into a four cup measure. Then I dumped them, a quart at a time into a solution to keep them from turning brown while I worked on the rest of the apples. The formula for the solution is 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar to 1 gallon of water.
The USDA recommends using a product called ClearJel instead of cornstarch in homemade apple pie filling. I did find several recipes using Clear Jel, but I cannot get that product locally, so I went with the following recipe. This recipe was given to me by my friend, Cindy, but you can find it in many places on the internet, so I don’t know where it originated.
Canned Apple Pie Filling
4 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cornstarch (I use Rumford–no GMOs)
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt (If you do not use the salted soaking solution, add another teaspoon of salt.)
10 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 pounds cooking apples (or seven quarts sliced apples)
Peel, core, and slice the apples.
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large pot. Stir together thoroughly. Add part of the water and stir to combine. Add rest of the water. Turn heat on to medium high and cook until boiling and thickened. Stir constantly. Turn off heat and add lemon juice. Stir into the syrup. Fill seven quart jars with the apple slices. Shake them down as tightly as you can. Do not have any slices sticking up into the neck of the jars. Fill the jars with the hot syrup, leaving at least 1/2 inch of head space at the top of the jars.
I found it easier to fill one jar with a couple of ladles of syrup, go on to a couple more jars and partly fill them, then go back and add more syrup to the first jars, until the syrup has filled all the spaces between the apples. Using a heat resistant narrow spatula, push down and around in the jar to remove as many air bubbles as you can.
Then carefully clean off the messy jar rims and any syrup where the rings go. Put hot lids and rings on the jars. Tighten them as tight as you can, using only your hands. Place the jars into a hot water bath and cover them with water. Bring the water in the pot to a full rolling boil. (Make sure the water is over the lids of the jars.) Boil the jars for a full 25 minutes. When the time is up, turn off the heat. Using a jar lifter, lift out one jar at a time and set it on a surface that is heatproof. A hand towel or double layer of paper towels on top of the surface will absorb spillover juices as the jars seal. Don’t move them around until they are fully cooled and sealed. If any do not seal, place them in the refrigerator to use up first.
I haven’t used any of the filling yet, and this is the first year I’ve tried this recipe, so I can’t tell you whether I will like it or not. However, this recipe has been used by many people and they liked it, so we shall see!
P.S. An update. We have used two jars in making pies and the pies were delicious!