Apple Pie Filling for Canning

It’s apple season! To start things off right I decided to make apple pie filling. It is a little time consuming but the result is worth it. They make fantastic gifts during Christmas time. Make sure you use a variety of apples for best results. To streamline the process I’ve written things down in the order I did them in to maximize efficiency. I used Clear Jel (purchased on Amazon for $6.50 a pound) and was very satisfied with the results. Cornstarch creates a cloudy mixture whereas Clear Jel makes it… clear! It also is a safer thickener than cornstarch (according to the USDA).

About 14 pounds of apples (a variety of sweet apples), peeled, cored, and sliced
3 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of organic honey
1 cup of Clear Jel
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
5 cups apple juice
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 bottled lemon juice

Yields 7 quarts. Recipe adapted from Pick Your

1. Prepare your jars. Wash them and put them in the oven on warm (about 190F should be fine). Set a little pot of water on the stove and bring it to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and set the lids in. Start bringing your water bath to a boil. Also fill another large stock pot with water and bring that to a boil. This will be used to blanch the apples.

Having all your pots ready to go will really speed up the process. (Ignore the frying pan!)

2. Combine the sugar, honey, spices, apple juice, and water in a stock pot. Set it on a burner with no heat (we’re just getting things ready at this point).

3. Measure the Clear Jel into a bowl. Measure the lemon juice and pour into Clear Jel. Stir it until it is completely integrated.

Click the photo to see it larger.

4. Okay, let’s get to the apples! They need to be peeled. I recommend using the peeler in the photo above since it speeds the process up a lot. However, you need to make sure the apples are dry after you wash them or they won’t peel as easily. Peel all the apples and set them in a bowl.

5. Makes sure you have one of these apple slicer gadgets. Like the peeler, they take a huge amount of stress off making apple pie filling (fresh or canned!). Work quickly and transfer the cut slices to bowls.

6. By now your water should be boiling (not the canner water, the other pot). Before you start blanching, turn the burner onto medium-low that the syrup mixture is on.* Now, drop your apple slices into the boiling water for 1 minute. Transfer, making sure to drain well, to a bowl and cover with tin foil to keep warm. Do this until all the apples have been blanched.

7. Bring the syrup mixture to a simmer. Give the Clear Jel mixture one last stir and slowly pour it into the simmering syrup mixture, stirring vigorously. Keep stirring as you bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute. It thickens extremely fast. Do not let it burn. Remove from heat. Carefully remove your jars from the oven and set on a towel.

8. Pour a bit of syrup into a jar, then layer apple. Repeat the process until the jar is full, using a spoon to compact the mixture as you go. Leave 1″ head space. The apples will increase in mass so you need the room.

9. Wipe the rims making sure there isn’t a drop of syrup on them, position lids, and screw rings on. Process for 25 minutes in your water bath (at 1k altitude. 30 minutes for up to 3k, 35 for up to 6k).

10. Carefully remove jars and set on a towel in a draft free place for 24 hours. Check for proper sealing. Use any jars that have no sealed properly.

 *If your stove is too small to do this, you will need to start your syrup on medium-high immediately after finishing blanching the apples.

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8 Responses to Apple Pie Filling for Canning

  1. trkingmomoe says:

    This brings back memories of canning apples for pies. Thanks for your recipe.

  2. Angela says:

    Ellie, surprised that you didn’t mention the family history of this recipe! We’ve been making this pie filling for several decades and it’s a long-time favorite. Gramawama would have to confirm, but I think the recipe was given to our family by Helen Reynolds, who was an incredible homemaker and hostess. Canning this filling was always a much anticipated fall event. When I was about ten years old, I recall that we borrowed someone’s apple peeler and corer. You put the apple on it and turned it round and round. It was a really old-fashioned tool, but sped up the process significantly!

    Not only does this filling work well for pies, but makes an outstanding filling for a quick crisp. In fact, growing up, we had a special pan we called the “apple betty” pan and we used it to make apple crisp using this wonderful filling and a simple crust of oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and a little flour. It was frequently featured for Sunday night dessert.

    • Jackie says:

      I remember the first time LeVon and i made this together, it was at Fort Lewis in 1975. She also taught me to make Strawberry leather that summer. Great memories of a simpler time, I miss those days.

  3. Seasonsgirl says:

    Looks like a good idea 🙂

  4. Randi says:

    Glad to find this site! I’m a newby at canning and am glad for the instructions.

  5. Pingback: Time to Can Apples! | egg yolk days

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