The idea of home-canned apple pie filling is new to me. To be honest, I don't think I've even seen apple pie made out of store-bought pie filling. My mom uses her extra apples to assemble and freeze pies prior to baking, so she almost always has a homemade pie available to whip out and bake in no time flat. (She's fancy like that.)
But we bought 20 lbs of apples to support a school fundraiser, and I made applesauce with half of them, have zero extra freezer space (fruitcake, yo), and wanted to try something new. Enter the Google machine and a trillion ideas for canning apples. This recipe is simplified from the Ball version. I got two full batches and a third-sized batch out of the 10 lb bag of apples.
- 12 cups apples (about 12 or 13 medium)
- 2 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup ClearJel (click through to the kind I used; it's not easy to find in stores but it's not substitutable with other similar things like cornstarch. Cornstarch can cause uneven heating and affect food safety so do not substitute because science)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (I used cider)
- 1 1/4 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 8 pint (500 ml) Mason jars
- 8 snap lids and rings
Directions for canning:
- Wash your jars in hot soapy water and rinse well.
- Peel and slice your apples. There are several companies that will happily sell you some sort of product to prevent your apple slices from browning. If you love to purchase extra things to clutter up your cupboards, go nuts. If you do not, soak your apple slices for at least 10 minutes in a cold lemon water (1/4 cup lemon juice per 4 cups water) or salt water (1 teaspoon per 2 cups water) bath. I used lemon water, but I just read that salt is better so I'm going to try it next time. Either way, rinse them in fresh water before using.
- Combine sugar, ClearJel, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large pot. Whisk it all together thoroughly until well combined.
- Make sure your jars are ready to be filled cause it all happens pretty quickly from here on out.
- Stir in apple juice/cider and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.
- Add 1/2 cup lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Immediately fold the apple slices, a few cups at a time, into the hot mixture.
- Put the pot back on the stove and heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.
- Heat water to the almost boil in a small pot and place your snap lids in there to soften.
- Scoop hot apple pie filling into jars leaving a good 1.5 inch headspace. (Apparently canned apple pie filling is notorious for oozing out from under the lid, so I left extra head room and that seemed to avoid the problem.)
- Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble each jar with a skewer or chopstick to release any trapped air. Wipe each rim thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel. Place a heated snap lid down and screw the ring on finger tip tight.
- Put the filled jars into your water bath canner. Make sure there is at least an inch of water above the top of your jars. Don't start your timer until the water is boiling. Boil for 25 minutes.
Remove jars from the canner. Repeat with the next batch. Commence beauty shots.