Preserve the Harvest: 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


Canning Apple Pie Filling WHEN TO BUY 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. 


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.


Canning Apple Pie Filling 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.


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.


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.



  • 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 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Canning Apple Pie Filling
Recipe as is makes 7 pint jars. I like to make a combination of quart and pint jars for my needs throughout the year. I double the recipe and do just that.
  • 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
  1. Prepare canning jars, lids and bands as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Mix together sugar, Clear Jel, and cinnamon in a large stainless steel kettle. Stir in apple juice and cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and starts to bubble.
  4. 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.
  5. Ladle hot apple pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace.
  6. run a knife around apples to remove air bubbles.
  7. Wipe off the rim.
  8. Apply lid and band.
  9. Process in hot water bath for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude as needed.
  10. Remove jars and cool, checking for proper sealing in 24 hours.
To prevent browning of apples place slices in a solution of ½ cup lemon juice and 4 cups of water. Drain when ready to use.

Recipe adapted from Ball: Apple Pie Filling 

 Clear Jel can be purchased here at my Amazon Affiliate link

Canning Apple Pie Filling shared with:

Creative K Kids: Tasty Tuesdays *April J Harris: Hearth and Soul *A Mother’s Shadow: Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop *Far From Normal: Wake-Up Wednesday *A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventure: Tickle My Tastebuds *Crafty Wife: The Wednesday Roundup *The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your Pjs *Weekend Craft: Creative Spark *The Newlywed Pilgrimage: Moonlight and Mason Jars *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute  *Kneaded Creations: Tuesdays with a Twist *Living Well and spending Less: Thrifty Thursday *Recipes for our Daily Bread: Let’s Get Real *Kitchen Dreaming: The Weekend Social *Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Fridays *Lil Suburban Homestead: Farm Blog Hop *Natasha in Oz: Say G’day *Snippets of Inspiration: Weekend Wind-Down *3 Little Greenwoods:Show me Saturday *New Mama Diaries: Creative Style Link-up *2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday *My Creative Days: Happiness is Homemade *Houseologie: Link it or Lump it *Create with Joy: Inspire Me Monday *The Squishable Baby: Monday for Mom’s


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Morgan Sullivan says

    Sounds like a great way to have a yummy apple pie at a moments notice. Perfect when you don’t have the time and want to serve a homemade dessert. Do you have suggestions for a lower sugar version?

  2. says

    I have a lovely colleague who always brings bags of apples in to work around this time of year as she has too many to cope with. I usually just prep and freeze them, I’ve never thought of canning, but when freezer space is tight this might be fun to try. Thanks
    Julie recently posted…Silent Sunday 12th October 2014My Profile

    • says

      It is always nice to have thoughtful co-workers. As our family size has shrunk a bit with all the kids gone I am finding freezing is a great option. I still like to put food up in jars, but more and more I turn to the freezer.

  3. says

    I so enjoy this series and hopefully have read and pinned each one. I made an apple pie jam recipe from the small batch canning book and it was super yummy but wasn’t that great for actual apple pie so this would be a great idea to have on hand. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Kristina and Millie recently posted…The Ultimate Pinterest Party #21My Profile

  4. says

    I will be making this next week when we harvest the Granny Smiths! I will also be preparing pie crust “circles” and freezing them flat. That way, I can have apple pie in a moment’s notice! Thanks for the tutorial!
    Vickie recently posted…Rendering Lard – Two WaysMy Profile

    • says

      I need to make pie crusts this year yet too. Since I started blogging it seems I am always playing catch up. Some days are simply overwhelming with must do’s, but there’s nothing like a fresh apple pie straight from the oven!

  5. says

    I wanted to pick apples to make pies and candy apples but the nearest to my house is 150 miles away, haha. Dang! I don’t know if i’d be able to can these without eating all of them. That looks amazing!
    Leslie recently posted…Happy 2 Year Anniversary!My Profile

  6. says

    I love how you can and freeze to many fresh fruits and vegetables. Now that you have this Apple Pie filling you could easily whip up a pie in no time. Thanks for sharing! I learned something with the Clear Jel.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Diane Roark

    • says

      It sure doesn’t take long when I have the filling all done. I like to do both fresh and home canned. It all depends on how much time I have. Thanks for coming by.

  7. says

    Oh Shari, you are making actually miss bottling with your series. It’s been a few years since I’ve done a lot of it due to not having produce free from our own trees and larger garden (moved). This one looks amazing and I really appreciate how you are focusing on the skills of yester-years. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow


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