Welcome to the first day of canning week! Starting off our week, is canned apple pie filling! This recipe is seriously amazing. But before we dive into it, let me give you a little back story about my experience with canning.
Growing up, I was raised with a mom and family that loved to can. Every summer we’d have a big garden bursting with so much produce, we’d spend weeks canning everything and saving as much as possible. Our winter dinners, and so many other meals throughout the year, would almost always include some of our home canned items.
We would can everything from vegetables to fruit, and some of my best childhood memories are those spent around the kitchen spending time together as we prepped the fresh foods we were about to preserve. I cherish the memories and the knowledge my mom passed onto me. What seems to be a lost art, canning is something I’ll always enjoy doing and I look forward to passing down everything I’ve learned over the years, just as my mom has done with me. Still, to this day, we gather as a family to can specific items. Each time we do, I learn something new!
So how did this recipe come about? Well, when we bought our fixer upper, we knew there was an apple tree in the backyard, but we didn’t know too much about it, or what type of apples it produced. A few weeks ago my dad came over for lunch and picked one of the apples to taste it. Turns out they are delicious! We still don’t know what type of a tree it is, but it’s so full of apples, there was no way I was going to let them go to waste. Time to try something new!
This canned apple pie recipe is one that comes from my very sweet aunt. My mom’s sister is another canning expert and this recipe is nothing short of amazing. This was my first year canning it, and I can already see it will be a staple in our home. It doesn’t just have to be used for apple pie. You can use the filling for apple crisp, apple cake, or in any way you can think! It’s incredibly yummy… you’ll want to eat it straight from the jar. Promise!
In case you’ve never canned before, and the thought scares you, just know nothing about it is hard. It may be time consuming, but the results are well worth it and you get to enjoy your hard work throughout the year. If you’re intimidated, start small and work your way up.
First, let me preface this by saying I am not an expert. So much of what I do, is because it’s the way my mom taught me. She’s the expert, I just follow her direction and the steps I’ve learned over the years.
Let’s get started!
First, we rinsed the apples, and then started peeling them. This is one of the more tedious parts of the job, but our niece was anxious to help and learn.
We could have used an apple, peeler and corer and it would have cut our time in half, but because our apple tree hasn’t been maintained these past several years (we’re guessing!), I had the job of chopping the apples into pieces and cutting out any bad spots. There were several.
We packed the apples into the freshly washed quart jars…
Having a helper definitely makes this easier… as it does with almost every canning job! While she peeled, I chopped. Once we had the jars filled with apples, it was time to make the filling. We combined sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then added in water and lemon juice. We brought it to a boil and it turned into this divine mixture…
We used a funnel and started pouring the hot filling over the apples. I used a knife to work the filling down into the apples, making sure they were coated and swimming in the sauce…
Once we had the jars filled, it was time to add the lids and bands, then water bath them to preserve the fruit….
Make sure you use a clean washcloth to wipe down the jar rim before adding your warmed lid, then tighten the band really well. We processed the quart jars for 7 minutes, then removed them, and let the jars cool down on a towel. They started “popping” right away, which is always a good sound. You know your jars are sealing!
We left the jars to cool down, and then made another batch!
Here’s the amazing results…
The filling is so versatile and I can’t wait to try out a few new recipe ideas! Hopefully I’ll be sharing a gluten free apple pie scone recipe in the next few weeks… if I can get it to work right. Fingers crossed!
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Here’s the recipe for you to try, plus I’ve linked all of our supplies!
Canned Apple Pie Filling
- 5 1/2 cups Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2-4 tsp Cinnamon Based on your preference. I used 3.
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 10 cups Water
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Wash, dry and set aside 7 quart jars. In a small saucepan, add 7 lids. Fill with water, covering the lids. Turn heat to low and let the water lightly simmer.
- Fill water bath with water and heat on high until boiling.
- Peel, core and slice apples to desired size. Put into quart jars, shaking the jar occasionally to pack apples tight into the jar. Set aside.
- In a large pot, mix all dry ingredients together. Add water and stir. Cook until thick, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice. Turn off heat.
- Using a funnel, pour the hot filling on top of the apples. Sauce will be thick, but use a knife to work the filling down into the apples, making sure all the apples are coated. Leave 1/2 inch head space at the top of the jar. Continue filling all jars.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe jars and jar rim. Remove jar lids from heat and add to jars. Tighten well with band.
- Add jars to water bath, adding any extra water needed until at least an inch of water is over the top of the jars. Bring water to a full boil and set a timer for 7 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and lift the jars out of the water bath. Gently place them on a towel and let them sit for several hours, until cool and the jar lids have sealed. You should hear little "popping" noises as the jars seal. If any jars haven't sealed once they've cooled off, place in the refrigerator and use those first. You can also reheat the apple pie filling and try canning them again.
- Store in a cool, dry space. Jars can last up to 18 months.
*Edited to add: Please note, this is an old family recipe that has been used for many, many years without issue. If you would like to use Clear Jel instead of cornstarch, please do so. Please also adjust the processing time if necessary based on your altitude.
What a pleasant surprise our apple tree has been! We’re going to love having this apple pie filling this winter! Mmmm!
Stay tuned for the next recipe this week!