PRESERVE THE HARVEST SERIES: CANNING APPLE PIE FILLING
Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money. A sane approach to sustainability!
Next up…Apples and Canning Apple Pie Filling
LET’S TALK APPLES
Apples are available starting in mid- August with the Gala variety and continuing on in to late October with the later harvesting apples like Fuji.
WHERE TO BUY APPLES
It is best to buy your apples straight from the source at an apple orchard or Farmer’s Market but not everyone has access to these sources for apples. The next best bet is at a whole foods type store that sells organic and pesticide free varieties. It is nice that some of the major markets are now keying in on the customer preference and offering more of a selection on organic produce. This can also be a great option.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST APPLES
There are many great varieties of apple, way too many for me to mention here; each with its own unique characteristics. Some apples are tart and excellent bakers, while others are sweeter and perfect for eating. I found a great chart that lists many different varieties, their characteristics and what they are used best for at Pick Your Own. This is one of my favorite resources when I am in need of a little information.
STORING APPLES FOR THE FRESHEST FLAVOR
If you’ve brought a few apples home to eat and want to keep them as fresh as possible, store your apples in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Use the high humidity bin if you have one and keep the temperature at 40 degrees. Your apples will keep in this manner for several weeks.
If storing a large amount of apples it is best to store them in a cool, dry, dark, place. Handle your apples carefully to prevent bruising. Some recommend wrapping each apple individually with newspaper to keep them from touching. I personally don’t but it is up to you how particular you want to get. I do check my apples regularly to make sure none are spoiling. One bad apple WILL spoil the whole bunch! Also be sure to keep your apples away from potatoes. The gases emitted from the potatoes cause your apples to spoil more quickly.
HOW TO FREEZE APPLES
Freezing apples is simple. Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Place in a lemon juice bath of 1/4 cup lemon to 4 cups of water. Soak for a few minutes, remove slices and place in a heavy duty plastic freezer bag or vacuum seal. Label, date and freeze, that’s all there is to it. Apples should keep for a year or more. Vacuum sealing is the preferred method for longer lasting results.
CANNING APPLE PIE FILLING
- Water Bath Canner
- Quart Jars with Lids and Bands – Just the right size for 1 pie.
- Clear Jel – a necessity for a thickener when canning any type of pie filling. Corn starch can be used in a pinch but in my experience the finished product is clumpy, with a chalkier taste. Clear jel is relatively inexpensive and works beautifully every time. I buy mine on Amazon because it is readily available there and can be hard to find in the regular supermarket.
- Utensil Set – Not absolutely necessary, but makes the job of canning a whole lot easier.
- Large non- reactive pot
- 12 cups sliced peeled and cored apples, treated to prevent browning *see notes below
- 2-3/4 cups unrefined cane sugar (granulated cane sugar can be substituted)
- ¾ cup Clear Jel
- 2-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
- 1-1/4 cups cold water
- ½ cup lemon juice
- *Water and additional lemon juice to prevent browning of apples- See notes
- Prepare canning jars, lids and bands as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Mix together sugar, Clear Jel, and cinnamon in a large stainless steel kettle. Stir in apple juice and cold water.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
- Add lemon juice, return to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Drain apple slices and immediately fold into hot mixture. Return apples to medium high heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.
- Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace.
- run a knife around apples to remove air bubbles.
- Wipe off the rim.
- Apply lid and band.
- Process in hot water bath for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.
- Remove jars and cool, checking for proper sealing in 24 hours.
Recipe adapted from Ball: Apple Pie Filling
Clear Jel can be purchased here at my Amazon Affiliate link
Canning Apple Pie Filling shared with:
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