Every year we head to a local apple orchard to pick apples or just buy them directly from the source. With the especially hot and dry summer we had in Wisconsin, it’s pretty difficult to find an orchard where you can pick your own (instead you just purchase them already bagged).
So far I’ve bought 15 pounds of apples from an orchard in Appleton, Wisconsin (ironic, right!). I used some to can Cranberry Apple Butter, which would be fantastic in Apple Butter Granola now that I think of it. But my true goal was to make apple pie filling.
Apple pie filling can be used in so many things, such as:
- Apple pie
- Apple crisp
- As a topping for pancakes/waffles
- In a yogurt parfait with granola
- Heated up in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
For those of you who don’t like, or can’t, can (pardon the pun!), you can easily make this recipe and divide it among freezer bags.
I did a lot of research before deciding which canning recipe to try. Ball is the absolute expert on this subject. Although I found a tasty looking recipe on AllRecipes.com, I trusted Ball to make sure these methods are proven and safe.
One of the main difference between the Ball recipe and the other ones I’ve seen is the use of ClearJel versus cornstarch. The more I read, the more I discovered that cornstarch hasn’t been shown safe to can with because heat infiltration during the water bath canning process can’t be measured as easily. I also read that cornstarch can alter the look and taste of the pie filling when it’s heated up.
Therefore, I bit the bullet and bought some ClearJel (which you can pretty much only find online). I bought mine from Nuts.com for only $3.99/pound. Since the shipping is expensive, I decided to make my shopping trip worth it and buy Carob Covered Raisins and Whole Wheat Fig Bars. Everything I tried was delicious and arrived at my house within a few days.
This recipe made a little more than 7 pints, so I used the extra to make a mini apple pie with some dough from a galette I made earlier that day (funny how perfectly that worked out). It was delicious without being too sweet. The only thing I did different was not blanch the apples before making the filling (find Ball’s original recipe for apple pie filling here). I didn’t think it was necessary because the apples were already sliced thin enough when I used this handy device:
Canned Apple Pie Filling
Recipe adapted from Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving”
Makes 7 pints
12 cups sliced peeled cored apples, sprinkles with lemon juice and tossed
2-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup ClearJel®
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2-1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1-1/4 cups cold water
1/2 cup lemon juice
7 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
COMBINE sugar, ClearJel®, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large stainless steel saucepan. Stir in apple juice and cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens and begins 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. Before processing, heat, stirring, until apples are heated through.
LADLE hot pie filling into hot jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 25 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.